Employers must buy primary care plans for migrant workers living in dormitories, working in certain sectors from April

SINGAPORE – From April, employers who hire migrant workers who live in dormitories or work in the construction, shipyard and processing sectors must subscribe to Primary Care Plans (PCPs) to cover the health costs of their workers.

This new rule will be part of the requirements for these workers to obtain or renew work permits and S-passes, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Saturday February 19.

The cost of PCP, first introduced in November last year, ranges from $108 to $138 per worker per year. It can be paid in regular monthly installments.

It will cover most of the migrant worker’s primary care needs, including medical examinations for work permit purposes, medical consultations and treatment, annual health checks and telemedicine.

MOM said the program will initially cover about a third of migrant workers here, or more than 300,000, after experiencing the Covid-19 outbreak in dormitories and communal living spaces.

Speaking at the launch of St Andrew’s Medical Center for Migrant Workers on Saturday, Labor Minister Tan See Leng said the PCP will offer migrant workers greater peace of mind when accessing to primary care.

“It will also provide employers with clarity on costs and strengthen their protection against unexpected healthcare bills,” he said.

St Andrew’s Migrant Workers Medical Center is the first of six regional medical centers which provide outpatient care for migrant workers.

Employers of newly arrived eligible migrant workers must purchase the PCP before their work permit is issued. The same applies to migrant workers who renew their work permit or change employers.

Existing migrant workers who fall under the scheme must have a valid PCP by March 31, 2023, even if their work permits need to be renewed after that date.

To instill personal ownership of their own health, migrant workers will have to pay $5 for each co-pay medical center visit, and $2 for each telemedicine session, MOM said.

For migrant workers not covered by the PCP, the amount co-paid for each outpatient visit may be mutually agreed with their employer in their contracts.

This amount is capped at 1% of their fixed monthly salary, or $5, whichever is greater.

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