The Foreign Worker Medical Insurance Demystified
As Singapore continues to flourish as a global business hub, its reliance on foreign workers is undeniable. In order to protect the welfare of these workers and ensure a harmonious working environment, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has implemented certain regulations, one of which is the Foreign Worker Medical Insurance (FWMI). But what exactly is FWMI, and when do employers and employees need it? Let’s dive into the details.
FWMI: A Mandatory Requirement
FWMI is a compulsory insurance policy that employers in Singapore must purchase for all their foreign workers who hold either a Work Permit or an S-Pass. This insurance policy is designed to cover the medical expenses of these workers in the event of hospitalization or outpatient treatment due to illness, injury, or accidents while working in Singapore.
Coverage and Premiums: What to Expect
According to the MOM guidelines, the minimum coverage of FWMI should be at least SGD 15,000 per year for inpatient care and day surgery. This is inclusive of pre- and post-hospitalization expenses, which must cover at least 90 days before and after the hospital stay.
The insurance premium for FWMI depends on various factors, including the worker’s occupation, age, and the coverage amount. On average, the premium can range from SGD 60 to SGD 250 per year. Employers are responsible for bearing the cost of the premium without passing it on to their foreign workers.
When to Purchase FWMI
Employers must purchase FWMI:
- Before applying for a new Work Permit or S-Pass, or renewing an existing one.
- When there is a change in employment, such as the transfer of a foreign worker to a new employer.
It’s crucial to note that failing to provide FWMI can result in penalties for employers, including fines and a possible ban on hiring foreign workers in the future.
Exceptions to the Rule
There are certain cases where FWMI is not required:
– Foreign domestic workers: They are covered under a separate insurance policy called the Personal Accident Insurance (PAI).
– Employment Pass holders: They are exempt from FWMI but are advised to secure their own medical insurance coverage.
Employee Rights and Responsibilities
As a foreign worker, it’s essential to understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to FWMI:
- Right to medical treatment: In case of illness, injury or accidents, you are entitled to receive medical treatment from a Singapore-registered doctor or hospital.
- Right to claim: If you have incurred medical expenses due to work-related incidents, you can file a claim under the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA).
- Responsibility to inform: If you are unwell or injured, notify your employer immediately so they can arrange for the necessary medical treatment.
In a Nutshell
FWMI is a crucial aspect of Singapore’s foreign worker landscape, aimed at safeguarding the welfare of foreign workers and providing them with a safety net during their time in the country. Employers and employees alike should be aware of their responsibilities and rights in relation to FWMI to ensure a secure and harmonious working environment for all.