For the self-employed in Singapore, if given the option to tag onto your working spouse’s company insurance plan, should you? Here’s what you need to know.
When you become an employee of a company in Singapore, you’ll also be covered by the insurance policy the company has purchased for their employees. You could also be given the option to have the insurance policy cover your spouse or dependents as well. This typically comes at an additional fixed premium annually.
If you’re a freelancer or homemaker, you won’t be covered by any company insurance since you’re self-employed. While you could consider freelancer insurance plans, you could also consider tagging onto your working spouse’s company insurance plan.
What company insurance typically covers
Insurance offered by companies can cover:
- Outpatient care
- Specialist care
- Personal accident
- Term life
- Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), chiropractic treatment, physiotherapy
- Mental health coverage
However, such coverage is not compulsory and the degree of coverage would differ from company to company.
For example, Company A’s insurance plan might reimburse employees with S$50 per TCM session and up to S$500 for dental treatments. Company B, on the other hand, might allow claims of up to S$1,200 for dental, plus S$500 reimbursement for physiotherapy or chiropractic treatments.
Read all about employees’ insurance benefits here.
Things to take note of
If you’re considering tagging onto your working spouse’s insurance, here’s what you need to look out for.
- Cost: How much additional cost will this be?
- Coverage: How much coverage will you receive?
- Pre-existing illnesses: Will pre-existing illnesses be covered? Such insurance plans typically have a 12-month period where the insured cannot claim for pre-existing illnesses.
- Portability: Companies can have portable medical benefits, which means that employees can bring the medical benefits with them even if they change employers
You should also weigh the pros and cons of latching onto your spouse’s insurance plan as it doesn’t come free of charge.
|Reasons to opt in||Reasons to get your own|
|Reduces hassle of finding your own plan||Coverage of company insurance might be inadequate|
|Being on the same plan as your partner makes it easier to track and make claims||Coverage can change based on the companies’ budget and benefits — you don’t have control over the coverage|
|Could be cheaper than finding a plan on your own plan as company insurance is a group insurance policy and could be subsidised by the company||When your partner leaves the company, you’ll also have to find a new insurance plan, potentially resulting in a gap between coverage periods|
|Claims made on your company insurance don’t affect the future premiums for your own insurance||Could offer more value for money (or even be cheaper) than opting in|
|Could offer greater coverage than getting a plan on your own||You and your partner might have differing needs|
One major reason to tap on your spouse’s company insurance plan is that it could be more cost-effective as it is a group insurance plan that could offer lower premiums. Some companies also subsidise the premiums for spouse/dependents’ coverage.
Company insurance plans could also offer coverage for certain items that our own insurance plans might not cover, such as outpatient, dental or TCM reimbursement.
However, the downside to relying on your spouse’s company insurance is the potential coverage gap if your spouse leaves the company. Furthermore, most group insurance plans have pre-existing exclusion clauses, which means that you will not be able to claim for specific illnesses if you’re less than a year into the plan.
So…should you tap on it?
Company insurance should be seen as an add-on to your existing insurance coverage, being a good-to-have, additional insurance plan that you’ll be able to make claims on simply by being an employee of the company. It should definitely not be the only insurance plan you have, as the coverage is not within your control and might not be sufficient even if you’re willing to pay more for greater coverage.
The same applies even if you’re not an employee of a company, but rather a freelancer or homemaker. Here are a few articles to help you along the way as you get the insurance plans you need:
For foreigners, if you’re not planning to stay in the country for too long, you can consider having your spouse tagged to the same policy. This saves you the hassle and possibly the additional dollars incurred to source for medical coverage for your dependents in a completely new country, where you might not be covered by local subsidies and are not familiar with local policies just yet.
Read these next:
Freelancer Insurance: A Guide For Gig Economy Workers In Singapore
Employee’s Insurance Benefits: What Should Your Company Be Giving You?
Personal Accident vs Life & Medical Insurance: What You Need to Know
5 Health Conditions That Will Affect Your Insurability
Do You Have a ‘Dangerous’ Job? Here Are The Insurance Plans You Need
By Ching Sue Mae
A flat white, an adventure-filled travel and a good workout is her fuel. This Manchester United fan enjoys sharing knowledge on personal finance while chasing the dream of financial independence.