Your domestic worker plays an important role in supporting your household. That’s why, when she falls ill, it can be difficult to get medical care quickly, pay for her treatment, and find a temporary replacement while she recovers.

Luckily, that’s when your Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) insurance comes into play and helps you deal with expensive medical bills. However, there are limitations and gaps in maid insurance coverage that can lead to unexpected out-of-pocket expenses for unsuspecting employers.

To help FDW employers manage their domestic worker’s healthcare costs, we discuss three conditions surrounding your domestic worker’s healthcare coverage and offer some ways to reduce unforeseen healthcare expenses.

1. Hospitalization coverage is limited to the ward and type of hospital

If your domestic worker needs to be hospitalized, the ward they are admitted to will play an important role in determining your out-of-pocket costs. Housekeeper insurance policies fully cover hospitalization costs if your FDW stays in B2 or C wards of public hospitals.

However, you will be responsible for the rest of the bill if your domestic worker is staying in a B1 service or above. If this happens, your personal liability may range from 30-50% of the invoice.

Additionally, families who use private hospitals and want their maid to use the same medical team should be careful when choosing their maid insurance. While some insurers will partially cover hospitalization in private hospitals, many insurers exclude them from coverage.

Medical benefits Industry Average Limits
Outpatient expenses $2,446
Hospitalization $18,420
Personal accident $2,808
Recovery (total) $682

2. Hospitalization abroad is only covered if FDW travels with employers

We know that housekeeper insurance provides medical coverage while your worker is in Singapore, but what if she is traveling with you or returning home on personal leave? In these cases, coverage will depend on your insurer. As a rule, insurers offer partial coverage if she is traveling with you.

However, when your domestic worker returns home on personal leave, their medical coverage becomes quite limited. While a few insurers like NTUC provide some coverage for accidents, others provide no coverage during your FDW’s personal leave.

Regardless of your insurer’s coverage, it can be difficult to determine your personal liability for your FDW’s medical care when she is traveling alone. For this reason, you should consult with the Department of Manpower (MOM) to find out when you need to provide medical coverage.

3. Dental and pre-existing conditions not included in the covered conditions

Unfortunately, your FDW’s medical insurance will not cover all types of conditions. For example, pre-existing conditions are not covered unless your domestic worker was already insured in Singapore when the condition arose.

Since pre-existing conditions can be costly to treat, you should find out about your domestic worker’s medical history before hiring.

Common medical exclusions

  • Medical care
  • Dental care for diseases of the teeth, gums or mouth
  • Routine physical exams
  • Pre-existing conditions (unless previously covered)
  • Non-emergency treatment outside of hospitalization
  • Alcohol or drug addiction
  • Elective plastic or cosmetic surgery
  • Orthopedic appliances, prostheses and medical equipment
  • Contraception
  • Traveling for medical treatment abroad
  • Psychiatric illnesses

Other common exclusions include routine dental care, outpatient care, vaccinations, STD treatment, and psychiatric care. While some exclusions, like pregnancy, will result in voiding a work permit and no financial liability on your part, others may require prompt medical attention.

For example, anxiety and depression can occur in domestic workers, but their treatment is not covered by insurance. Since you will be responsible for 100% of the medical bill in these cases, it might be worth setting up an emergency healthcare fund to avoid going into debt on your FDW healthcare expenses.

How to Save on Your FDW Healthcare Expenses

Regardless of the severity of your FDW’s illness, it is your responsibility as an employer to pay for their medical care. But since medical care is expensive even with insurance coverage, paying for an extra person’s health care can become a burden on families. Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce your domestic worker’s health care bills.

First, employers can research outpatient clinics that offer discounts to foreign domestic workers. Alternatively, if you don’t have time to compare different medical providers, you might consider signing up with HealthPal, which offers subsidized medical care at dozens of clinics for your FDW for as little as $24 a year.

This includes $13 for GP visits, $80 for specialist visits, and $70 for dental polishing and scaling, saving employers 48% on their FDW’s medical bills.

Employers facing financial hardship may consider making an appointment for their FDWs with the Migration Economics Humanitarian Organization (Home), which offers free dental care. However, since the wait list is usually a few months, home appointments are recommended for procedures that do not require urgent care (eg elective fillings).

Another way to save money on your worker’s household expenses is to focus on prevention. Preventive services like vaccinations are usually less expensive than paying for treatment.

You should also make sure your FDW eats healthy meals and engages in physical activity to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes – two serious illnesses quite common in Singapore that are both expensive and require long-term treatment. term.

This article was first published in ValueChampion.