Costs may be rising but Singapore firms are increasingly investing in this benefit
More employers in Singapore are enhancing their health benefits to attract and retain talent in a competitive market, found a study.
They’re modifying the perk, even as they grapple with the rising cost of staff health benefits.
The study also found that more companies are now focusing on a holistic and preventative well-being approach for employees by providing mental, financial and physical programs.
Companies are also beginning to look into more personalised and flexible benefits, such as dependent coverage and options for employees to adjust their benefit levels, according to Mercer Marsh Benefit’s annual report.
This was especially true in larger companies, where a one-size-fits-all design does not cater to everyone’s needs.
A breakdown of employee health benefits:
- Medical benefits: Hospital and surgical benefits are the most commonly provided perk, with 96% of companies offering coverage
- ‘Risk’ benefits: Since 2017, 7% more firms are offering coverage for critical illnesses
- Outpatient: Outpatient clinical and specialist benefits increased by 13% and 15% respectively
The increase in outpatient benefits reflect the gradual shift from self-funded arrangements to insurance to reduce the cost of paying a third-party administrator and claim expenses.
However, the study found a significant rise in self-funded benefits for vision and maternity care. It was found that self-funded vision care rose to 58% in 2019, from just 35% in 2017.
While self-funded maternity care more than doubled from 16% to 37% over the two years.
The rising cost of hospitalisation also drove an increase in benefits for ward-type plans – from 68% in 2017 to 83% in 2019.
“From providing inpatient psychiatric coverage, absorbing goods and services tax to removing 12-month pre-existing exclusions under medical insurance plans, companies in Singapore are increasingly turning to their benefits program to strengthen their value proposition and stay competitive in the current talent market,” said Neil Narale, Singapore Health Leader at Mercer
“It is critical that their risk and medical benefits programs are aligned with the philosophy, priorities and values of the company, ensuring the needs of their people are met.”