Coronavirus and Health Insurance for the Global Workforce

coronavirus and health insuranceThis article is for global workforce management teams looking for answers about the coronavirus and health insurance. It was updated March 10, 2020. Updates are in orange text.

Approaches to healthcare vary greatly across the globe, and the same is proving true for the approach to containing, treating, and even vaccinating against COVID-19. Asinta Partners in India report that the government approved private hospitals to accept patients exhibiting symptoms of the virus. In Singapore, people who came in contact with a person known to have the coronavirus had their credit card receipts traced, and were immediately placed into a two-week quarantine. In response to delayed federal action, state governments in the US, lead the way in managing the outbreak. Colombia reports that their major carriers won’t cover costs related to COVID-19 if it is declared a pandemic. Many of our other Partners report the same situation.

Ask the right questions about health insurance and the coronavirus

Asinta Partners advise you to fully understand health insurance coverage as it relates to pandemics for every country where you have employees. Philippe de Dreuzy, the Global Consulting Practice Leader for Asinta’s US Partner, Alliant, recommends global employers ask the following questions.

  • What is their insurance carrier’s definition of pandemic?
  • How is the carrier addressing healthcare policies for the coronavirus?
  • Which policy/system covers the coronavirus testing and treatment? Is it the supplemental medical plan or the social national health care system?
  • Can the government impose free emergency and/or hospital visits? What about prescriptions?
  • Is there coverage for a vaccine or other treatment for the disease?
  • Are all medical quarantine costs covered or only some?
  • What are the coverage levels (full or partial)?
  • What are the exclusions? For example if an employee is under required quarantine in another country, who pays for their care? Or, if an employee goes in an ambulance for admittance into a quarantine facility, who pays for the ambulance? Does business travel accident (BTA) insurance?

Example COVID-19 coverage descriptions

In the US for example, a major health plan published this coverage outline:

  • Provider appointments, lab tests, and hospital care related to infection or possible infection from the COVID-19 virus is covered at regular benefits levels in the same way as other virus-based illnesses.
  • Costs associated to quarantines, unless in a medical facility, aren’t covered medical benefits.
  • Medical evacuation and travel associated with COVID-19 aren’t covered under most plans. Benefits are available for medically necessary ambulance transportation to the nearest facility to treat the member’s condition.
  • Business losses associated with a pandemic (of which COVID-19 is not currently categorized), fall under commercial insurance policies.

Beyond health insurance and pandemics, Philippe adds, “I also recommend global workforce managers check with their travel, BTA, and STD insurance carriers in a case like the COVID-19 outbreak or any pandemic. Some carriers do not cover pandemics, but do cover trip cancellation under special circumstances.” He recommends two articles regarding travel and travel insurance coverage. One from Time Magazine (search the article with the word ‘insurance.’) The other is from travel insurer Squaremouth.

Employers should also know that generally life insurance policies cover death from COVID-19. Critical illness insurance, which is popular in Asia, does not cover infectious disease. Check these policies to be certain.  


This article is one of a series dedicated to helping global workforce managers navigate the evolving challenges brought on by COVID-19. Expect regular articles such as this from the Asinta Partnership as the global impact of the coronavirus unfolds.