Singapore Expats

Insurance Question

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KoreanBBQ
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Insurance Question

Post by KoreanBBQ » Fri, 07 Oct 2016 5:46 am

Hi all, quick background - I'm deep in talks with a company based in Singapore (I'm based in SF). The company only hires foreigners outside SG as independent contractors, which means that I'm not going to get a fancy relocation package, insurance, etc. This means that, if I took the job, my wife and kids would probably stay back in SF while I worked in SG for a year or so (with trips back and forth between the two).

My question, particularly for folks in the same situation, is how insurance would work? After some research online it seems that given health care costs in SG I may not even need to get insurance. If that's the case, though, I would still need insurance for my family back in the States. Or, should I investigate insurance companies in the US that offer global coverage, particularly in Singapore, so my wife and kids are covered at home, and I'm covered, too.

Tax-wise, I guess I would quality as being a resident since I would be in the country for more than 183 days over the given year, correct? Would that affect my SG health care options?

Thanks for any advice.

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Strong Eagle
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Re: Insurance Question

Post by Strong Eagle » Fri, 07 Oct 2016 8:51 am

You have much larger problems than insurance to worry about if they will only employ you as an independent contractor.

When you are hired as an employee by a Singapore firm, they must obtain the employment pass for you. If your intent is to work for them in Singapore as a contractor, you must be willing to find an agency or bodyshop willing to rent you out (for a fee, of course), or you must form your own company and apply for your own EP. Many threads in the Business forum on this topic.

If you are saying they will get the EP for you but will only provide you cash compensation, then your insurance questions are valid.

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Re: Insurance Question

Post by Strong Eagle » Fri, 07 Oct 2016 9:09 am

I am going to answer your questions, assuming you are going to get an EP with your Singapore company.
KoreanBBQ wrote:Hi all, quick background - I'm deep in talks with a company based in Singapore (I'm based in SF). The company only hires foreigners outside SG as independent contractors, which means that I'm not going to get a fancy relocation package, insurance, etc. This means that, if I took the job, my wife and kids would probably stay back in SF while I worked in SG for a year or so (with trips back and forth between the two).

My question, particularly for folks in the same situation, is how insurance would work? After some research online it seems that given health care costs in SG I may not even need to get insurance. If that's the case, though, I would still need insurance for my family back in the States. Or, should I investigate insurance companies in the US that offer global coverage, particularly in Singapore, so my wife and kids are covered at home, and I'm covered, too.
Because your family will remain in the USA, they will only be able to get insurance in the USA, as they and you would right now. No global health insurance company will touch them with USA residence.

There are multiple health insurance companies that offer expat insurance for people like you, probably more in the UK than in the USA. Google, "expat health insurance". Basically, your choices come down to this:
  1. You can get a cheap cheap policy that treats you where you are in Singapore and nowhere else. You buy travelers insurance for those trips you must take elsewhere, excluding the USA. You approach local Singapore agencies for this approach, as well as the big travel insurance outfits.
  2. You buy a policy that covers you all over the world, except the USA... they offer things like evacuation to the nearest "good" hospital, etc. But, no insurance in the USA.
  3. You buy a policy that includes coverage when you go to the USA. Length of time that you will be covered in the USA depends upon the policy premium... but expect to pay 2 or 3 times more for USA coverage than without.
  4. You add on a couple of riders, for example, if you get cancer, you can be flown back to the USA, and receive unlimited treatment there... keeps you from treating your brain cancer in Laos because your US policy didn't include long term care.
Tax-wise, I guess I would quality as being a resident since I would be in the country for more than 183 days over the given year, correct? Would that affect my SG health care options?

Thanks for any advice.
You'll probably be OK with Singapore taxes with 183 days. But, you won't qualify for the USA earned income exclusion until you hit 336 days (I think) and have a "real" foreign residence. You need to read up on this because if you don't qualify, you'll be liable for taxes in both countries.

No difference on your health insurance options. And while much cheaper to go to the doctor and get a few pills, insurance is still mandatory for involved hospital care... unless you have a wad of money stuffed under your mattress.

Cheers.

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