Freelancer insurance: A guide for gig economy workers in Singapore – AsiaOne

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From Grab drivers and private tutors to real estate agents and freelance designers, jobs in the freelance economy are aplenty. Some freelance full-time, while others do it as their side hustle. Freelancing has also seen a boom off the back of Covid-19, with many people being put out of work and turning to other avenues to earn money. 

Types of insurance plans that freelancers should get 

When it comes to getting protection against the curveballs life might throw at us, freelancers are no different from salaried employees. Here are some of the insurance types that are crucial for adequate coverage:

Health insurance

Health insurance, also known as medical insurance, helps you to cover your medical bills. In Singapore, we have MediShield Life, a national medical insurance policy designed to protect Singaporeans and PRs against large hospital bills, by helping to pay for these costly outpatient treatments. You can get an Integrated Shield Plan (IP) to boost the coverage provided by your Medishield life plan.  

Life insurance

Life insurance can help to provide for your loved ones via a lump sum payment upon your death — particularly important if you have dependents or if you are the sole breadwinner of your family. For life insurance, you have the choice to opt for term life insurance, whole life insurance or a mix of both. 

Critical illness insurance

Receive a lump sum payout upon diagnosis of a covered critical illness, such as cancer, heart attack, and stroke. A supplement to your health insurance, critical illness insurance plans can help to cover for loss of income.

For more holistic coverage, you can also consider adding a personal accident plan or cancer insurance plan to the mix. 

Salaried employees 1 : Freelancers 0 

Freelancing comes with its own set of perks: You get to determine your own working hours and jobs you take on. However, there are benefits a salaried employee enjoys that a self-employed person might not. 

One gaping difference is that salaried employees receive a fixed remuneration that is paid consistently each month. There could also be end-year bonuses and performance bonuses.

Freelancers, on the other hand, are subject to an income stream that isn’t fixed, regular or guaranteed, although it is possible for freelancers to secure their income in the coming months by working on longer term projects or building a recurring stream of freelance projects.  

Freelancers also miss out on CPF contributions made by employers. It is compulsory for employers in Singapore to pay CPF contributions for employees who are Singapore citizens or PRs. However, freelancers can still make voluntary contributions to their CPF.

Income and CPF aside, freelancers also do not enjoy employee benefits such as:

  • Medical reimbursement: If you have worked for at least three months, your employer has to reimburse you for medical consultation fees if your medical certificate (MC) was issued by a medical practitioner from an approved public institution or appointed by your company. 
  • Paid outpatient sick leave or paid hospitalisation leave: If you take paid outpatient sick leave or hospitalisation leave, your employer has to pay you your salary. 

To support freelancers, a handful of insurers have insurance plans tailored for these self-employed individuals that can help to cover for loss in income when ill. 

Freelancer insurance plans you can get  in Singapore

Insurance Plan Main Benefit Premiums
MSIG Freelancer CashPlus – Up to $120 per day hospitalisation cash benefit– Up to $120 per day daily outpatient cash benefit From $6.89 per week
Great Eastern’s GREAT Comprehensive Care  – Up to $150 per day daily hospital cash benefit– Up to $150,000 for accidental death or TPD– Up to 12 video consultations with Doctor Anywhere.  From $264 per year
Income’s Prolonged Medical Leave (PML) Insurance for Self- Employed Person – Up to $80 per day daily hospitalisation cash benefit– Up to $80 per day daily cash benefit for non-hospitalisation medical leave From $102.72 per year

#1 MSIG’s Freelancer CashPlus 

An income protection plan for freelancers, applicants can choose between the Basic or Elite coverage to receive a cash benefit when deemed unable to work due to injuries or illness.

What it covers: 

  • Hospitalisation cash benefit: After the first three days, get up to $120 per day (up to 60 days), if you are hospitalised and unable to work due to injuries or illness
  • Daily outpatient cash benefit: After the first five days, get up to $120 per day for each day of outpatient leave (up to 21 days), if you are unable to work due to injuries or illness 

The total annual maximum payout for both hospitalisation and outpatient cash benefit is capped at 60 days. 

Eligibility criteria: Self-employed persons (SEP) who are Singaporeans or PRs, aged between 18 to 75 years. You may only purchase one Freelancer CashPlus insurance policy.

Premiums: The premiums you pay depend on your occupation class, which determines your risk classification. It starts from $6.89 per week, based on the Basic Plan for a freelancer aged between 18 to 30 years, working indoor or in an office, doing non-manual and usually administrative work. The plan also offers weekly, monthly and annual policy payment options. 

#2 Great Eastern’s GREAT Comprehensive Care

The GREAT Comprehensive Care provides benefits for hospitalisation, death or total permanent disability (TPD), while throwing in free video consultations with a doctor to boot. 

What it covers: 

  • Daily hospital cash benefit: Up to $150 per day, up to 365 days, per any one hospitalisation. Get up to an additional $150 per day upon admission to the intensive care unit (ICU), up to 30 days, per any one hospitalisation. 
  • Death or TPD benefit: Lump sum payout of up to $150,000 for accidental death or TPD; or $10,000 in the event of death due to Covid-19.
  • Video consultations: Up to 12 video consultations with Doctor Anywhere that can be shared with family members. Unused consultations can be converted into UPGREAT points. 

Eligibility criteria: Singaporeans, PRs and holders of valid Employment Pass (EP holders or S Pass holders) or Dependant Pass, who are between 17 to 65 years old and residing in Singapore may purchase this plan. 

Premiums: The Basic plan starts from $264 per year (equivalent to $0.73 per day), while the Deluxe plan starts from $446 per year.

#3 Income’s Prolonged Medical Leave (PML) Insurance for Self- Employed Person

What it covers: 

  • Daily hospitalisation cash benefit: Up to $80 per day for each day you are hospitalised, including subsequent hospitalisation leave, capped at a total of 60 days per policy year.
  • Daily cash benefit for non-hospitalisation medical leave: After the eighth day of consecutive non-hospitalisation medical leave, you can get a daily cash benefit of up to $80 per day, up to a maximum of 14 days per policy year. 

Eligibility criteria: You must be a self-employed person (SEP) that is a Singaporean or PR residing in Singapore that is at least 21 years old at the point of application. Your coverage ends when you reach 75 years old. Pre-existing conditions will also be insured after 12 months of being continuously covered under this policy.

Premiums: Premiums are based on the insured’s age last birthday and differ depending on the age band you fall under. Here are the annual premium rates for Income’s PML insurance: 

To round up, whether you’re a freelancer, a salaried employee or even if you’re unemployed, get started on your protection needs with these essentials: 

  • Best Integrated Shield Plans (IP)
  • Best Critical Illness Insurance Plans
  • Best Cancer Insurance Plans
  • Best Personal Accident Insurance Plans
  • Best Short & Long Term Endowment Plans

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