With COVID-19 spreading at a fast rate across the world, access to international healthcare is more important than ever. The Singapore government has put in place many measures to contain the spread of the virus, including border restrictions, contact tracing and quarantine policies. But with the infectiousness of the virus and the lack of a vaccine, you’re probably wondering what happens if you come down with the virus here or overseas. Would health insurance cover it? We find out more from the team at Pacific Prime Singapore.
What happens when someone gets infected with COVID-19 in Singapore?
Individuals who have COVID-19-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, runny nose and sore throat, can head to one of the designated Public Health Preparedness Clinics to be assessed. (Find out where these clinics are located, here.) If they’re suspected of having pneumonia, they’ll be sent to a public hospital for tests and follow-up care. If they’re confirmed to have the infection, they’ll be isolated and given treatment.
The government will cover the treatment costs of all suspected and infected patients at public hospitals, excluding outpatient expenses (such as visits to GPs, polyclinics and private medical centres).
Does health insurance cover COVID-19?
As the coronavirus is a new and unexpected disease, most insurers will treat it as a special condition that is not subjected to general exclusions (many policies exclude epidemics).
Insurers are likely to cover the following costs, up to each policy’s prescribed limits:
- Costs for diagnostic tests when requested by a medical professional
- Costs for hospital treatment, including admission into isolation wards as a result of COVID-19
- Cost of eligible outpatient treatment for the disease and its symptoms, as required by a medical professional
If you have international health insurance, you are also covered overseas. But, if you have a local health insurance plan, you likely won’t be covered overseas or you’ll only receive limited cover for a short period of time (depending on the terms and conditions of your plan). What if you’re diagnosed with the virus while overseas? You’ll likely have to seek treatment in that particular country as you won’t be fit to fly. Therefore, having international health insurance would be ideal.
Additional insurance coverage
Some insurers are also offering extended coverage, such as covering all medical complications resulting from COVID-19 and medical evacuation if the necessary help isn’t available locally. Other supportive measures that some insurance providers are offering include:
- Waived cost for ward upgrade during COVID-19 hospitalisation
- Simplified and express claims procedures
- Virtual consultations
Depending on the insurer and your policy, there might be different terms and conditions attached to outpatient treatments and COVID-19. If you’re unsure, check with your insurance provider or a broker like Pacific Prime Singapore.
How about travel plans?
Before you cancel your trips, talk to your insurer. Whether travel insurance covers the COVID-19 depends on your policy and when you booked your tickets.
For example, if you booked your trip before COVID-19 became a known issue, you could still be covered under the “cancel for any reason” benefit in your policy. However, if you booked your trip after it became known, you probably won’t be covered. Just like with natural disasters, such as hurricanes or floods, the coverage depends on when you purchased it.
Need more help?
Besides checking your policy’s terms and conditions, you can also talk to an expert such as advisors from Pacific Prime Singapore. The insurance brokerage specialises in putting together health insurance plans for individuals, families and groups.
Read on for more about insurance and other health and fitness topics in Singapore: