[Featured] Grouping SMEs for Affordable Employee Health Benefits

 Chris Teo, Mednefits CEO & Co-founder

Chris Teo, Mednefits CEO & Co-founder

In spite of the fact that SMEs make up the bulk of the Singapore economy and employ about 65% of the local workforce, they remain under-served when it comes to corporate health benefits. But with tech and the right data, Mednefits co-founder and CEO Chris Teo says the lack of big HR budgets should not inhibit SME employees’ access to comprehensive health care.

When it comes to the provision of employee benefits, cost control is a perennial issue and most small and medium enterprises (SMEs) face two options: ‘self-insurance’ or the purchase of corporate health insurance cover for employees. But neither of these methods is ideal.

For SMEs that self-insure, the lack of economies of scale means that most companies will not have the ability to work out a direct arrangement with healthcare providers and will thus have to pay a premium for services, said Mednefits co-founder and CEO Chris Teo.

On the flipside, corporate health insurance products ‘typically only offer outpatient and inpatient insurance together as a costly bundle’ and so, for reasons of cost, the option of corporate health cover is ‘often not accessible or appealing to SME employers’.

When companies purchase insurance for their employees, they will never find themselves in an advantageous position,” Mr Teo said, adding that the total cost of cover for employees is paid upfront to the insurer, which if not used, goes to waste. “And when employees do claim on their insurance, this causes the company’s premium to be loaded the following year.

Legacy Inhibitions


Current corporate health benefits programmes, he said, are limited by older systems that were not designed to share data, work together or learn from one another. This makes the experience frustrating and user- unfriendly to the company’s benefits administrator and employees.

But advances in technology – such as real-time big data accessibility – have enabled employers to reduce healthcare costs, customise health plans to suit their staff and to make comprehensive healthcare more accessible. He said,” The right data at the right time can empower. We didn’t have access to these fancy features in the past, but now with technology, employers have concrete means to change the entire health care experience for the better.”


‘Bulking’ for Affordability 


Enter Mednefits, an InsurTech focused on making corporate health benefits affordable and accessible to SMEs. “In Singapore, where 99% of firms are SMEs, it’s crucial these companies have the benefits provision to maintain their competitive edge. Healthcare is a massive investment that few SME employers have control over, particularly with increasing medical costs and inflation. SMEs tend to get hit the hardest,” Mr Teo said.

By grouping SMEs on a single platform, Mednefits is able to give SMEs the buying power equivalent to a large enterprise, while connecting them directly to health providers – digitally – without the need to go through existing intermediaries. He said, “SMEs get direct cost savings and efficiency with the aid of technology. The result is greater cost control with a better healthcare experience. Ultimately, it’s all about scale.”

But aside from affordability and accessibility to benefits, Mr Teo said SMEs need to cultivate a wellness culture within organisations – that without doubt has proven outcomes such as productivity boosts, absenteeism reduction and talent attraction and retention.


New Paradigm of Benefits

The technopreneur also noted that the ‘game has changed’ in employee benefits – the new generation of employees entering the work force has a new definition of health, which is a ‘state of complete physical, mental and social well-being’. In view of this, he briefly touched on Mednefits’ current offering of an outpatient medical coverage plan – incorporated with a workforce management system – that includes a pilot customisable workplace health and wellness programme targeted at both physical and mental well-being.


Similar Space, Different Aims


That being said, Mr Teo was quick to outline the difference in propositions between Mednefits and fellow tech start-up CXA Group. “The CXA proposition is all about shifting spending from treatment to prevention and has been pretty successful in this. Mednefits’ value proposition is entirely different. For us, it is and always will be about SMEs, whose focus is first cost control and then efficiency.”

He added, “SMEs value a solution that is first affordable and cost predictable, simple, and ultimately human – that serves basic needs first, and that is primary healthcare. So while the preventive movement is up and coming, our view is that for SMEs, it starts with primary care. This is why we have collated an island-wide panel of primary healthcare providers to cover their basic needs.” 


The article was originally published in Asia Insurance Review Magazine, Insurance - Life & Health September 2018.



Mednefits at SMEICC 2018: Largest SME event of the year

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The two-day event was a huge success for us this year. We had a fruitful time meeting SME business owners, fellow esteemed exhibitors and sharing how we can provide better benefits for employees while helping employers take control and maximise their benefits investment.

Highlights from SMEICC 2018

This is our second time at the event and we are happy to see a bigger team and our largest event booth thus far. 

 Our booth at SMEICC 2017

Our booth at SMEICC 2017

 Our booth this year - check out our growing team!

Our booth this year - check out our growing team!

Attendees who dropped by our booth got a taste of our digitised, real-time, automated workflow as we took them through the employer and employee experience of using the Mednefits app and platform.

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This year, our co-founders Chris and Hadi also had the opportunity to share what motivates Mednefits to redesign the corporate healthcare experience and how employers can better attract and retain talent by creating a consumer-style benefits experience for their employees.

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All in all, it was an amazing event for us and we are tremendously proud to see the growth of Mednefits and the team. We are also thankful to our partners and friends for their dropping by our booth and for their unwavering support. We look forward to be back again next year! 


About the Event

SMEICC 2018 is Singapore's annual bilingual SME business conference organised by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry, offering insights from local and global business and market leaders on conquering challenges and building successful businesses. It was held on 15 and 16 August 2018 at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, bringing together close to 6000 attendees and industry partners.

Want to lower cost and provide better benefits for your employees?

Download our E-Book - Redesigning the Corporate Healthcare Experience for insights to providing better benefits for your employees. 

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On Air With 938Now: Mednefits Explained in 16.5 Minutes

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Co-founders Chris Teo and Hadiyanto Wibawa were on air with 938Now.

Check out the podcast here:

Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to go live with 938Now on The Breakfast Club with Keith de Souza.

On the show, Chris and Hadiyanto shared more about the Mednefits story - why it all started, how we help SMEs and what's installed for us in the future.


Highlights of the show:


  • HR Tech Pilot Programme

We were introduced on the show as being one of the service providers for the HR Tech Pilot Programme. This grant allows SMEs to adopt digital solutions at an affordable rate. Find out more about the grant here.


  • The SME benefits dilemma

Why are SMEs in Singapore unable to afford employee benefits? How can they overcome these challenges? SMEs do not have the luxury of size to negotiate for corporate rates from insurers or health service providers, and as a result cannot provide benefits for their employees. In addition, many SMEs are still using traditional methods to manage benefits, which can be tedious and time-consuming. The desire to solve these problems and empower SMEs is what kick-started Mednefits.


  • How we help SMEs

We explained how Mednefits helps to solve the SME benefits problem. Our platform for automating processes like claims and payment, the Mednefits Care Plan (suitable even for SMEs with a few employees!), and our forward-looking network of health partners are just some examples of how we help to reduce time and money spent on benefits management.


  • What's next?

Going strong in Singapore, we revealed some of our future plans. Of course, one goal is to be able to reach out to more SMEs and help them provide simple, affordable and human benefits for their employees.


Listen to the podcast (embed above) for the full details! As mentioned on the show, get in touch with us on our website for more information!

Related: Find out how Mednefits is making affordable healthcare a reality for SMEs in Singapore.



Download our SME e-book - Guide to Better Employee Benefits


Doubling Down on HR Summit & Expo Asia 2018: See what our co-founders have to say

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The annual event was an incredible experience for us. Covering the entire fourth floor and featuring hundreds of exhibitors, it was a good chance to showcase our passion for employee benefits. 

Event highlights

It was our second time at this event, and we’ve powered up to be bigger and better than the previous year.

We have grown from being at a corner of the exhibition hall…

 Mednefits Booth at HR Summit & Expo Asia 2017

Mednefits Booth at HR Summit & Expo Asia 2017

...to having our very own fabulous booth!

 Mednefits Booth at HR Summit & Expo Asia 2018

Mednefits Booth at HR Summit & Expo Asia 2018

Interacting with thousands of HRs over the course of 2 days has made us realise once again exactly how much we love to help the community overcome challenges and provide better benefits. We met many individuals who shared the same burning passion to deliver only the very best for their people. 

We have spoken to many HRs and like-minded individuals and we hope to extend our services to them.
— Chris Teo
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This time, we had a special collaboration with Hook Coffee. Visitors to our booth got to enjoy a taste of the delicious Hook Coffee. Many employees are regular coffee drinkers and a cup of the beverage can allow them to concentrate better. By providing coffee as a workplace benefit, employers may see an increase in productivity and employee satisfaction. 

To further understand the needs of HRs and their employees, we conducted a research to learn more about how people perceive their employee health benefits and the usage of technology in their benefits plan. The findings of our research will be made available to let HRs and employers gain more insights into this topic.

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The booths and stages in exhibition hall were wonderfully set up, so we took the opportunity to film the event grounds as well. If you missed the event, be sure to take a look at the short clip we have put together (see the video at the top of this post!). In the video, we had a short interview with Mednefits founders Chris and Hadi, who shared more about Mednefits and their thoughts on the event.

We’ve had fantastic overwhelming support and also partners coming to us, seeking for collaboration and partnership.
— Hadiyanto Wibawa

All in all, it was a fruitful event for us and we look forward to be back again next year!


About the event

Held at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre on 9 & 10 May 2018, HR Summit & Expo Asia 2018 was organised by HRM Asia. The event brought over 4000 attendees from around the region together for 2 days of conferences and exhibitions.


Learn how Mednefits is making affordable healthcare a reality for SMEs in Singapore.


Download our SME e-book - Guide to Better Employee Benefits


People Mentality HR Tech Feature - Mednefits

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People Mentality HR Tech feature: An interview with Mednefits co-founder and CEO Chris Teo.

We are glad to have had the opportunity to share more about the Mednefits story and how we bring better benefits to SMEs in an interview with People Mentality Inc. Here is a summary of the interview with Chris:


How did Mednefits start?

I noticed a big problem that SMEs were facing while I was working at AXA. There was no affordable option for SMEs who wanted to provide employee benefits. For traditional insurance, to get outpatient coverage, they are required to purchase hospital insurance too. Many cannot afford to pay $500 per employee so they turn to reimbursement. Mednefits was started to provide affordable healthcare for employees.


Why the name “Mednefits”?

It is the short form of “Medical Benefits” and represents the simple, affordable and humanised solution we want to provide for the underserved market.


One thing you would do differently if you could turn back time

One important thing would be to hire our in-house tech team at an earlier stage. With an outsourced tech provider, our goals are not aligned. We could not have developed and grown at this rate without an in-house design, product and tech team.


When things got tough, what kept you going?

It all boils down to solving the big problem. For 30 years, corporate healthcare hasn’t changed its one-size-fits-all solution. Every time we get a customer onto the Mednefits platform and help solve their problem, we get a boost in energy.


Top 3 features of the platform

  • Affordable, quality healthcare

  • Real-time analytics

  • Personalisation for employees


Who should use this tool?

Owners of SMEs and HR professionals who would like to offer their talents a different corporate healthcare experience, the kind of we want for ourselves and our loved ones.


Message for HR practitioners

Corporate healthcare is a huge investment that many do not have control over. The yearly rising costs not only eats into the employees’ budget but the company’s profits as well. Let’s work together to redesign corporate healthcare and get the experience we want for ourselves and our loved ones.


How to find out more?

Reach out to us on our website or our social media platforms (FacebookLinkedIn).


Closing thoughts from People Mentality

What I love about the Mednefits story is really about the intent to humanise this technology. Very often, we deploy technology and focus on the efficiency aspect while neglecting what we are really delivering – the impact on people’s lives. By reinventing the employee benefits space to make it affordable yet being able to deliver a great experience, that really stands out for me.

Find out how Mednefits is making affordable healthcare a reality for SMEs in Singapore.


Adapted from the article People Mentality HR Tech Feature #9 – Mednefits” originally published on People Mentality Inc.


Download our SME e-book - Guide to Better Employee Benefits


Making Affordable Healthcare for SMEs in Singapore a Reality


Despite the perception of the Singapore insurance industry to be all-encompassing, some gaps are still left unfilled. Compared to larger organisations, SMEs in Singapore do not have the advantage of size, making it near impossible for them to afford employee medical insurance.

While working in the insurance industry, this problem came to the attention of Chris Teo and Clarence Zhang. The small size of SMEs caused them to be unable to enjoy corporate rates from healthcare professionals, and insurance companies were only willing to offer outpatient and inpatient insurance together as a costly set.

Together with Hadiyanto Wibawa, the 3 friends set out to fill the missing piece of the puzzle, kicking off Mednefits in 2014.

This got us to believe that we can use tech to lower healthcare cost and reduce administrative issues for SMEs.

Pooling SMEs together via their digital platform, Mednefits is able to work out affordable plans with their healthcare partners. SMEs can utilise the platform at zero cost by renewing their insurance with Mednefits or for $99 per year for each employee. Mednefits customers are entitled to an array of benefits, some of which includes discounts for General Practitioners, Traditional Chinese Medicine and dental services.

Over 15,000 employees from 180 SMEs have been reaping the benefits of the digital platform ever since it was established 3 years ago. Furthermore, Mednefits does not extract fees from healthcare professionals, to fully push the cost savings to the SMEs.

Mednefits capitalises on technology to simplify and ease the access to healthcare. E-cards and healthcare providers search options are just some of the many features available to users of the Mednefits mobile application.

Similarly, the digital platform allows hassle-free claims on the healthcare partner’s end. Verifying the patient’s identity and keeping track of accounts have become much easier for nurses who are busy multi-tasking.

The latest feature from Mednefits is a credit platform for companies, which allows employees to use e-credits at establishments of participating healthcare partners. Employers are able to track employees’ claims in real-time, and no longer need to process paperwork for reimbursements.

The real disruption is out business model. We are able to provide better benefits at no additional cost to all the SMEs in Singapore.

Technology gave them the ability to innovate and enhance their product offerings, but what is more significant is how it has empowered Mednefits to address the key issue faced by SMEs in Singapore.


Adapted from the article “#SMETowkay: Making affordable healthcare for SMEs a reality” originally published on MCI Singapore.