What happens if you really do get tested positive for COVID-19? Here’s a look at what the government and insurance companies are covering.
Overseas travel came to a grinding halt in March and is still recovering at a glacial pace in 2021. With the SingapoRediscovers vouchers, locals are encouraged to spend domestically on ‘travel’ here in our little red dot.
We’ve previously looked at whether your travel insurance will cover COVID-19 and also shared 10 things you can do with your travel fund. Beyond travel, COVID-19 has brought about a ‘new norm’ in our daily lives, with Singaporeans getting accustomed to working from home and stepping out of our homes with a mask on.
As we continue to see rising COVID-19 cases in other countries, the risk of the virus still remains despite our efforts to keep community numbers low or close to zero. Having been through two months of the circuit breaker in 2020, it’s not surprising that many of us are cautious about the opening up of our economy and the launch of travel bubbles.
Here, we take a look at what the Singapore government will compensate you for as well as the additional COVID-19 coverage being provided by insurance companies.
- How much COVID-19 costs
- Do you need additional COVID-19 coverage
- Free COVID-19 coverage from insurers
- Personal accident plans covering COVID-19
- Travel insurance plans covering COVID-19 (inbound/outbound)
How much COVID-19 costs
With COVID-19 being a highly infectious disease, there are various layers of safety nets the government has set in place to reduce the spread of the virus.
#1 COVID-19 testing fees
To check if you have COVID-19, you will need to take a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, also referred to as a swab test. This test can be done at numerous clinics all across Singapore and different clinics have different charges for the COVID-19 PCR test.
A swab test could be required if you see a doctor and show symptoms similar to COVID-19, or when you have to take a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test before leaving Singapore. Going forward, more situations could arise where a swab test is made available, such as Nanyang Technological University offering free COVID-19 testing to its hall residents.
From 17 June 2020, all travellers, inbound and outbound, will be required to pay for their COVID-19 tests, where applicable.
If you’re traveling out of Singapore, the country you’re visiting might require that you take a pre-departure test. You can do so at any of these clinics here. A COVID-19 pre-departure test can cost up to S$200 if it’s PCR-only, with an additional cost tacked on if you need a serology test for trips to China. Prices have been slowly dropping since the tests were introduced, but they still cost a pretty penny.
However, there’s good news yet. If you’re booking an international flight or hotel through Traveloka from now till 31 May 2021, to enjoy a special rate of S$150 or S$180 for the pre-departure COVID-19 PCR Swab test.
Singapore citizens, PRs and long term pass holders:
The Singapore government has been bearing the costs of the majority of COVID-19 tests, with the exception of those who left Singapore from 27 March 2020. However, from 17 June 2020, all inbound and outbound travellers will be required to pay for their COVID-19 tests. The cost of each test is up to S$200.
When seeing a doctor if you’re feeling unwell, the GP might perform a swab test on you at their clinic if you are assessed to have symptoms that suggest a COVID-19 infection. This is also dependent on whether your GP is participating in the Swab and Send Home (SASH) initiative. Otherwise, you could be referred to another Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) where SASH is available. The cost of the swab test in such a scenario will be fully covered by the government.
There are also other times when MOH will bear the costs of these tests, such as in the case of the confirmed COVID-19 passenger found on board the Royal Caribbean Cruise.
Since 17 June 2020, all inbound and outbound travellers have been required to pay for their COVID-19 tests.
From 17 November 2020, inbound travellers that are foreigners (except those from lower-risk countries/regions), will need to take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours before their departure from their home country. They will still be required to serve their SHN upon arrival in Singapore and be tested at the end of their SHN.
#2 Stay-Home-Notice (SHN)
All inbound travellers are required to serve a 14-day (or 7-day) SHN upon arrival in Singapore. These travellers will also be tested for COVID-19 at the end of their SHN.
From 1 Jan 2021, costs of stay at dedicated SHN facilities for Singapore citizens and PRs will no longer be waived for those that last left Singapore before 27 March 2020.
The SHN period and place of residence differs depends on your travel history and the safe travel lane used to enter Singapore. Travellers from low-risk countries will have a shorter SHN duration of seven days instead of the usual 14 days.
However, do note that the Government can extend and shorten the duration as needed. The most recent application would be a 7-day extension after clusters began to emerge in end-April 2021. Naturally, the cost and rules change as well, so be sure to stay abreast of what’s going on globally.
There are two types of SHN:
- SHN at your own place of residence
Singaporeans and PRs are allowed to carry out the SHN at your place of residence or a self-sourced residence (non-residential), if you are coming into Singapore from a low-risk country. You will still be tested for COVID-19 at the end of your SHN.
Do keep in mind that if you’re under SHN, you must remain in your place of residence at all times. Your whereabouts will be closely monitored through electronic monitoring as well as physical spot-checks. Breaching SHN requirements comes with heavy penalties, such as having your work pass revoked.
- SHN in a dedicated SHN facility (SDF)
If you’re not travelling from a low-risk country or if you do not have a place of residence, you will have to carry out your SHN at a dedicated SHN facility. For example, with the increase in cases in December 2020, travellers to Singapore from Hong Kong have to serve their SHN at dedicated SHN facilities from 13 December 2020.
Also, since 1 January 2021, the cost of staying at dedicated SHN facilities for Singaporeans and PRs who last left Singapore before 27 March 2020 will no longer be waived.
You will have to take (and pay for) a COVID-19 test before the end of your SHN at a designated community testing facility.
#3 Quarantine order
If you’re put on Quarantine Order (QO), this could be due to you being a close contact of someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19.
This quarantine can usually be done in your place of residence, but can also be served in dedicated Government Quarantine Facilities or hospitals. There will be a home quarantine package provided. If you are under quarantine, you are not allowed to come into contact with anyone else. You will have to monitor your health closely and there will be close surveillance on your whereabouts.
To help you defray the costs, there are insurance plans on the market that provide quarantine allowance such as AXA SmartTraveller.
#4 Getting COVID-19
All patients suspected of having COVID-19 must be admitted to hospitals for isolation and management to prevent community transmission. Patients have been conveyed to hospitals such as the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH).
- Singapore citizens, PRs and long term pass holders
In February 2020, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced that the Singapore Government is paying for hospital bills incurred by COVID-19 patients in public hospitals. Since 7 March 2020, this was changed to only apply to Singapore citizens, PRs and long term pass holders.
On 24 March 2020, the government announced that Singaporeans, PRs and long term pass holders who leave Singapore from March 27 2020 will be charged unsubsidised rates at public hospitals, if they are admitted as suspected COVID-19 patients within 14 days of returning. These people will also not be able to claim from their MediShield Life or Integrated Shield Plans for these treatments at both public and private hospitals.
Since 7 August 2020, some travellers leaving Singapore will be able to tap on regular healthcare financing (government subsidies, MediShield Life and integrated shield plans) for their inpatient medical bills, should they have COVID-19 symptoms within 14 days of their return. These travellers refer to Singaporeans, PRs and long-term pass holders who are travelling abroad under permitted travel arrangements, such as bilateral travel arrangements with Malaysia and China.
All inbound foreigners (non-Singaporeans, non-PRs) entering Singapore will have to pay unsubsidised rates for inpatient stay at public hospitals, bearing the full cost. This includes tests for COVID-19, SHN at a dedicated facility and medical expenses should they be infected with COVID-19.
If you’re looking for added protection against COVID-19, the FWD Personal Accident and Infectious Disease Coverage offered exclusively on SingSaver provides coverage against accidents and COVID-19 at less than $0.30/day.
Why you need additional insurance coverage for COVID-19
While the Singapore government does provide some coverage for COVID-19 patients in terms of testing fees and medical bills, insurance plans can go one step further and beef up your protection needs.
|COVID-19 outpatient & inpatient medical expenses|
|COVID-19 Death & TPD coverage|
|Coverage for other infectious diseases (i.e. Dengue fever, Zika, Hand, Food and Mouth Disease)|
|Daily hospital cash|
Here’s a look at what insurance plans can offer when it comes to coverage for contacting COVID-19.
Free COVID-19 coverage from insurers
Earlier in the year, in the thick of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore, at least seven insurers were offering their clients with free COVID-19 coverage that includes special lump sum payouts and more. However, we’re now left with two insurance companies offering free COVID-19 coverage:
|AIA||S$1,000 (lump-sum) Hospitalisation income |
S$25,000 Death benefit
|Singapore Resident* with a valid NRIC/FIN. Must have an inforce Life Insurance or Accident & Health Insurance policy that has been issued on or before 31 July 2020.||Up till 30 June 2021 or 30 days after the DORSCON level has officially stepped down to green (whichever is earlier)|
|Etiqa||S$100 per day Hospitalisation Benefit (for stable condition, capped at S$1,000)|
S$200 per day Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Benefit (capped at S$1,000)
S$50,000 Death Benefit
|Must have an inforce life protection or insurance savings plans with Etiqa issued/ reinstated before 13 February 2020|
AIA: Free Additional Insurance Cover Against COVID-19
AIA is providing existing customers with free additional insurance cover against COVID-19. All eligible customers will automatically benefit from this free additional insurance cover with immediate effect with no action or additional purchase required.
These guaranteed benefits can be received up till 30 June 2021 or 30 days after the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level has officially stepped down to green – whichever is earlier.
Full details here.
Etiqa: Financial Assistance Benefit
Etiqa Insurance Singapore has introduced Financial Assistance Benefit to those insured with their life insurance policies in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. You will be eligible for this benefit if you have an existing life protection and insurance savings plans with Etiqa.
This applies to both private and public hospitals in and outside Singapore as long as the hospital is able to provide proof of hospitalisation due to COVID-19.
Full details here.
Personal accident plans covering COVID-19
If you’re looking for plans that provide coverage in the event that you or your loved one contacts COVID-19, here are the personal accident plans you can consider.
|Personal Accident Plan Name||COVID-19 Coverage||Personal Accident Coverage||Other Benefits||Premium|
|FWD Personal Accident and Infectious Disease Coverage||S$50,000 COVID-19 related death benefit|
S$1,000 medical expenses benefit for COVID-19
S$25 daily hospitalisation income due to COVID-19 (up to 365 days), S$50 daily for ICU
|S$100,000 for accidental death or TPD |
S$2,000 in medical expenses
S$50 daily hospital cash (up to 365 days), S$100 daily for ICU
|S$250 benefit for TCM and chiropractor expenses and S$500 for physiotherapy||S$98|
|AXA SmartPA Protect+ (Silver)||S$20,000 for COVID-19 related death|
S$200 daily hospitalisation income (up to 90 days)
|S$150,000 for accidental death or TPD |
S$2,000 in medical expenses
|S$1,000 post-accident therapy (includes TCM, physiotherapy and chiropractor treatment)||S$158|
|NTUC Income PA Assurance||S$10,000 death benefit|
S$100 daily hospitalisation income (up to 30 days)
|S$100,000 for accidental death or TPD |
S$2,000 in medical expenses
S$300 daily hospitalisation income (up to 365 days)
|S$500 benefit for TCM or chiropractor treatment and S$1,000 for physiotherapy||S$217|
|Etiqa ePROTECT safety Enhanced Silver||S$3,000 upon diagnosis of COVID-19 (complimentary special coverage)||S$100,000 for Accidental Death or TPD|
S$2,000 medical expenses reimbursement
S$50 daily hospitalisation income (up to 180 days)
|Up to S$150 per TCM visit (up to S$1,000 per accident) sub-limit from medical expenses reimbursement||S$216|
|Great Eastern Comprehensive Care (Basic)||S$10,000 death benefit||S$100,000 for Accidental Death or TPD|
S$100 daily hospital cash (up to 365 days)
S$100 daily ICU cash (up to 30 days) in addition to hospital cash benefit
|Enjoy 6 video-consultations with Doctor Anywhere (transferable to family & friends)||S$264|
If you’re looking for a personal accident plan tailored for COVID-19 coverage, the FWD Personal Accident and Infectious Disease coverage is your best bet. It even includes a 5% discount when you apply as a couple (S$186.20), and a 10% discount when you apply for your whole family (S$252).
Travel insurance plans covering COVID-19
If you’re one of the rare few that are squeezing your way onto a flight, here are the travel insurance plans that specially offer coverage for COVID-19. If you’re not heading out of Singapore, here are some ideas for what you can do with your travel fund instead, or how you can spend your S$100 SingapoRediscover vouchers.
For outbound travellers:
|Travel Insurance Plan Name||COVID-19 Coverage||Travel Insurance Coverage||Things to note|
|AXA SmartTraveller (Essential)||S$50 per day quarantine allowance overseas or in Singapore (up to S$350)|
Up to S$50,000 overseas medical expenses (due to COVID-19)
Up to S$1,000 overseas hospitalisation allowance (due to COVID-19)
S$1,000 trip cancellation due to COVID-19
S$500 trip postponement due to COVID-19
|Up to S$300,000 overseas medical expenses |
S$5,000 hospital visit benefit
S$200 per day hospitalisation allowance overseas (up to S$20,000)
S$6,000 trip cancellation
S$800 trip postponement
|Only for policies purchased or renewed from 1 December 2020. |
In September, AXA partnered with Scoot to make COVID-19 coverage available at no additional charge to Scoot passengers who purchased Scootsurance for flights departing Singapore
|NTUC Income Travel Insurance||Up to US$100,000 COVID-19 related hospitalisation expenses overseas |
Up to US$100,000 COVID-19 medical evacuation or repatriation
|Up to S$250,000 overseas medical expenses|
S$5,000 trip cancellation
S$500 trip postponement
|Only available for single-trip (not annual) plans purchased after 26 November 2020 and coverage is available for the first 90 days of each trip |
COVID-19 coverage excludes high risk countries (deemed as high risk by the World Health Organisation at the time of purchase)
|Travel Insurance by Travel Guard® on singaporeair.com (by AIG)||One-way trips: Benefit for travel cancellation and postponement available|
– Up to S$350,000 COVID-19 medical evacuation or repatriation
– Up to S$150 per day quarantine allowance (up to 14 days) if you test positive for COVID-19 and are unexpectedly placed into mandatory Quarantine outside your country of residence
|Up to S$1 million overseas medical expenses|
Up to S$7,000 trip cancellation and travel postponement
|Exclusively designed for Singapore Airlines passengers, this can be to your itinerary when making your flight booking on singaporeair.com|
|STARR Cruise To Nowhere Insurance||Coverage relating to COVID-19 will not be offered||Up to S$1 million in medical expenses coverage, including inpatient and outpatient treatments
Up to S$500,000 in personal accident benefit, covering 18 different events of disablement and accidental death
24 hours Global Emergency Assistance Services to connect you with medical treatment and transportation
|Starts from S$12 per day
All trips must depart from and return to Singapore
Travel insurance plans that offer coverage for COVID-19 are now more crucial than ever, providing not just financial coverage but also peace of mind. Despite our best efforts to rein in the virus, a spike in cases remains possible and any overseas plans, such as travelling to Hong Kong when the bubble is finally launched or going on a cruise, could easily be delayed or scrapped entirely in very short notice.
Looking to cruise to nowhere?
Enjoy your cruise to the fullest by getting Cruise to Nowhere Insurance to protect you from the unexpected. From just S$12 per day, you can get medical expenses coverage, personal accident benefit and other travel inconvenience benefits. You also enjoy 24 hours global emergency assistance services help you when you need it most.
For inbound travellers:
COVID-19 travel insurance is a mandatory requirement for incoming travellers that apply for an air travel pass from 31 January 2021.
There are just three providers offering coverage curated for foreigners arriving in Singapore, with premiums starting from just S$5.35 with GST. These plans provide at least S$30,000 coverage for COVID-19 medical treatment and hospitalisation costs, a figure recommended by the MOH based on COVID-19 bill sizes at private hospitals. These plans can be purchased directly from the insurers’ website.
- AIG Asia Pacific Insurance — Singapore Travel Assist
- Chubb Insurance Singapore — SG Travel Insured
- HL Assurance — ChangiAssure Covid Insurance
SingSaver Exclusive: FWD Personal Accident and Infectious Disease Coverage
SingSaver has partnered FWD Singapore to offer an exclusive plan that boasts both personal accident and the widest suite of infectious disease coverage (including COVID-19), for an annual premium of S$98. It’s the first on the market to cover accidents and 24 infectious diseases at such value.
Here’s what the FWD Personal Accident and Infectious Disease Coverage provides in terms of COVID-19 coverage:
Here are all the details you need to know about the FWD Personal Accident and Infectious Disease Coverage offered on SingSaver.
Feel free to reach out to SingSaver Insurance Brokers Pte. Ltd. at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +65 31382648 if you have any enquiries on coverage related to personal accident plans.
Read these next:
COVID-19 Tests In Singapore: Its Cost And Where To Go
Insurers Now Cover Allergic Reactions From COVID-19 Vaccination
Best Personal Accident Insurance Plans In Singapore (2021)
Infectious Diseases Insurance (COVID-19, Dengue and Zika): Best Plans to Protect Yourself
How Different Will Travel Be Post COVID-19?
By Ching Sue Mae
A flat white, an adventure-filled travel and a good workout is her fuel. This Manchester United fan enjoys sharing knowledge on personal finance while chasing the dream of financial independence.