As the Singapore government gradually permits essential travel, it has announced that from August 7, all outbound Singapore Citizens (SCs), Permanent Residents (PRs) and Long-Term Pass Holders (LTPHs) who travel abroad under permitted travel arrangements will be able to avail regular healthcare financing arrangements for their inpatient medical bills, should they have onset of symptoms within 14 days of their return to Singapore and require hospital admission for suspected COVID-19 infection.
This means that SCs and PRs will be eligible for government subsidies and MediShield Life/ Integrated Shield Plans coverage, and will be required to pay any remaining co-payment. LTPHs can avail their prevailing financing arrangements (e.g. foreign worker insurance).
So far the Government has been bearing the costs of inpatient medical bills for SCs, PRs and LTPHs who require treatment for COVID-19 at public healthcare institutions (PHIs), except for those who breach travel advisories. However SCs/ PRs/ LTPHs who had travelled overseas from March 27 onwards were required to pay for their own inpatient medical bills should they have onset of symptoms within 14 days of returning to Singapore and they had not been permitted to claim from MediShield Life or Integrated Shield Plans in public and private hospitals.
The new rule coming into effect from August 7 will apply to permitted travel arrangements, including Green/ Fast Lanes which are currently in place, as well as any permitted travel arrangement that may be implemented in the future.
SCs/ PRs/ LTPHs who are not under permitted travel arrangements and travel in breach of the travel advisories will have to continue to pay for their COVID-19 inpatient medical bills in full with no access to subsidies and MediShield Life/ Integrated Shield Plan coverage.
The press release added that Short-Term Pass Holders entering Singapore under permitted travel arrangements will remain responsible for their medical bills, should they test positive for COVID-19.