Singapore those who choose not to get vaccinated, get tested positive for COVID and are admitted in the hospital, could face high medical bills. Singapore is one of the most immunized societies in the world. However it does have a small section of society that cannot be vaccinated medically and some who choose not to be vaccinated.
The Singapore Government has so far borne all the costs incurred for testing as well as cost of treatment for Covid-19 throughout the pandemic by fully covering everyone. But it will no longer do so for those that remain unvaccinated. Amid the worst virus outbreak in the country, officials have opted to start charging Covid-19 patients who are unvaccinated by choice beginning Dec. 8.
COVID Patients who receive hospital care, therapeutics and stay in intensive care units may have be faced with bills of about S$25,000 and will have to pay for these bills by themselves according to the Health Ministry.
“Our hospitals really much prefer not to have to bill these patients at all, but we have to send this important signal, to urge everyone to get vaccinated if you are eligible,” health minister Ong Ye Kung said in a media briefing on Monday announcing the move.
Singapore has about 85% of the population is already fully innoculated, but its the unvaccinated Covid-19 patients that make up a sizeable majority of those who need intensive inpatient care, and “disproportionately” strain its health care resources.
Government subsidies for the poor and a national health insurance plan can lower the fees to S$2,000 to S$4,000 for eligible Singaporeans, the health ministry said. Patients may also choose to tap a national medical savings policy to further reduce this figure. “Depending on the severity of the patient’s condition and the type of Covid-19 facility where care is rendered, the bill size would vary,” the ministry said.
Singapore has been increasing the pressure on the unvaccinated in recent months, including barring the unvaccinated from malls, restaurants and attractions. From 2022, only vaccinated people will be allowed in offices, while the unvaccinated will have to pay for their own tests before being allowed in.
Health ministry data published on Thursday shows seniors above age 60 who aren’t fully protected were more than 25 times more likely to end up in intensive care in the last week than their vaccinated peers.
Insurers have sought to reassure clients that they will help bear the burden of such costs. Two of Singapore’s largest insurance firms, Great Eastern Holdings Ltd. and AIA Singapore Pte., said in separate statements that they will continue to subsidize claims for customers regardless of vaccination status. However some firms may feel the pressure in the future to drop coverage.