VTF: Government to pay for COVID-19 treatment for returning Singaporeans, PRs and LTPHs

From 1 April, returning SCs, PRs and LTPHs will no longer need to pay for COVID-19 medical bills, even with onset of symptoms within 14 days.

Singapore will reopen its borders to all fully vaccinated travellers from 1 April 2022, under the Vaccinated Travel Framework (VTF).

This means no more quarantine, regardless of which country you arrive from or what flight you take. On-arrival testing has also been eliminated, with pre-departure tests potentially on the chopping board in the next 2-4 weeks. 

✔️At a glance: Vaccinated Travel Framework
(Starts: 1 April 2022)
  • Fully vaccinated travellers can enter Singapore without quarantine, from any country (unless their 7-day travel history includes countries on the Restricted list, of which there are currently none)
  • Children aged 12 and below will be considered fully vaccinated, regardless of actual status
  • Booster dose is not required
  • Unvaccinated travellers mostly barred from entering, with limited exceptions
  • Take any flight to Singapore, no more VTL concept
  • Fully vaccinated short-term visitors no longer need to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass
  • Fully vaccinated short-term visitors no longer need to purchase travel insurance
  • Pre-departure test (ART/PCR 2 days prior) still required for travel to Singapore, but may be scrapped in the near future
  • No more on-arrival testing in Singapore; freedom from the moment you land
ICA: VTF Checklist

What went relatively unnoticed among the announcements, however, was a revision in policy towards COVID-19 treatment for returning travellers.

Under the VTF, fully vaccinated Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long Term Passholders (SCs, PRs, LTPHs) will no longer need to pay for their medical bills incurred for COVID-19 treatment, just like the rest of the broader community. 

No payment required for COVID-19 treatment

COVID-19 medical bills for recently-returned SCs/PRs/LTPHs will now be footed by the government

Currently, SCs/PRs/LTPHs who develop COVID-19 symptoms within 14 days of return to Singapore are responsible for medical bills incurred in hospitals or community treatment facilities. They are, however, permitted to tap on subsidies and insurance where applicable (provided they are fully vaccinated). 

SCs and PRs can access government subsidies and MediShield Life/ Integrated Shield Plans to pay for their bills, while LTPHs can rely on private insurance.

With the launch of the VTF on 1 April, the MOH has decided that:

  1. Fully vaccinated SCs/PRs/LTPHs who return from General Category countries will not be required to pay for COVID-19 related medical bills in hospitals and community treatment facilities, even if they develop symptoms with 14 days of return
  2. All SCs/PRs/LTPHs (regardless of vaccination status) who return from Restricted Category countries will be required to pay for COVID-19 related medical bills in hospitals and community treatment facilities, should they develop symptoms with 7 days of return

The second point is moot for now, since there are no countries currently on the Restricted Category list. This is reserved for when new Variants of Concern are identified. 

As a reminder, here’s how border measures differ between General Category and Restricted Category countries. 

 GeneralRestricted
 Vax.*Unvax.All
CountriesAllNone for now
Pre-Depart. TestProfessional ART or PCR within 2 days of departurePCR within 2 days of departure
On Arrival TestN/APCR
SHNN/A7 days (home)7 days (hotel)
Post-SHN TestN/APCR PCR
*Unvax children aged 12 and under are counted as fully vaxxed.

Unvaccinated travellers returning from General Category countries will remain responsible for COVID-19 treatment costs. 

What about short-term visitors?

Short-term visitors remain responsible for any COVID-19 medical bills incurred during their stay in Singapore, regardless of vaccination status (not that unvaccinated short-term visitors are allowed in, anyway, except for compassionate reasons).

However, Singapore has scrapped the mandatory travel insurance requirement for fully vaccinated short-term visitors, effective 1 April. It’s up to the traveller to decide whether they’re willing to take the risk.

VTF: Singapore scraps travel insurance requirement for tourists

Details: Vaccinated Travel Framework

In case you missed the big news, here’s a summary of the new VTF that kicks in from 1 April 2022. 

✔️ Vaccinated Travel Framework
Fully Vax.
& Unvax. Children ≤12
Unvax.
  • Most unvaccinated travellers will be barred from entry from 1 April 2022, with limited exceptions
  • Present negative pre-departure ART/PCR test taken within 2 days of flight to Singapore*
  • Download and install TraceTogether (Android | iOS)
  • Apply for entry approval (short-term visitor or LTPH aged 18 and above)
  • Complete SG Arrival Card
  • Purchase travel insurance with min. S$30,000 coverage for COVID-19 medical expenses (short-term visitors only)
  • 7-day SHN at home or hotel
  • Take PCR test at the end of 7-day SHN*
*Children aged 2 or under in the current calendar year are exempt

tl;dr: fully vaccinated travellers can enter Singapore on any flight without quarantine, just like the good old days. A pre-departure test is still required, but this may be scrapped in the next 2-4 weeks.

Goodbye VTLs, hello VTF: Singapore reopens borders to all fully vaccinated travellers

Conclusion

With the commencement of the VTF on 1 April, the Singapore government will once again foot the bill for any COVID-19 medical treatment incurred by returning SCs/PRs/LTPHs, in line with the policy for the local community. 

Given the general mildness of Omicron and the fact that you can already tap government subsidies and insurance for treatment, I can’t imagine the fear of a major COVID-19 medical bill was keeping most people from travelling.

But it’s good to know they’ve got your back come what may, and another reason to go out and see the world after two years of isolation. 

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Alian

Anyways most countries still require insurance so even if we come back with Covid we’d still be covered.

But good to know this is covered as well

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