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     FrontPage Edition: Thu 29 Sep 2005

Medical Subsidies for Foreign Workers Being Reviewed


Statement on medical subsidies for foreign workers

Currently, public hospitals and polyclinics treat foreigners and citizens alike, as far as access to government subsidy is concerned.
The Ministry of Health is reviewing this policy. As subsidy is inevitably limited, more subsidy for foreigners means less subsidy for the needy citizens.
There is a case for removing healthcare subsidy from foreigners. In particular, subsidising foreign workers means subsidising employers, which is probably not appropriate.
Actually, the vast majority of employers provide medical benefits as part of employment terms. Most employers of foreign workers send their workers for treatment at private GPs. But a minority of employers do not. They should be encouraged to follow industry norm.
NTUC has supported the proposed approach for foreign workers. In a press statement, NTUC highlighted that the employers should pay for the healthcare costs of their foreign workers as part of their employment terms, with or without Government subsidy.
MOH is studying the details, with a view to implement the revised approach in polyclinics before end 2005.
Foreigners who use polyclinics services will then be charged at full cost.
As for public hospitals, MOH is working with MOM and NTUC to see if we should make it mandatory for medical insurance to be introduced for foreign workers.
Related Info:

NTUC Press Statement supporting the Ministry's proposal - "Employers Should be Responsible for Overall Health & Welfare of All Workers"

Source: Press Release 29 Sep 2005

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