As Singapore is witnessing a surge in Covid-19 cases, the government has now announced that the country will no longer pay the Covid-19 medical bills for people who are "unvaccinated by choice."
Covid-19 patients in Singapore who do not get vaccinated by choice will have to pay their hospitalization bills, starting from December 8. This decision is described as an important signal to the people to receive their jabs amid the delta surge.
What was the Earlier Arrangement?
The government is currently funding the Covid-19 medical bills of all Singaporeans, permanent residents and even the long-term pass holders. The arrangement was made to "avoid financial considerations adding to public uncertainty and concern when Covid-19 was an emergent and unfamiliar disease". The government does not pay the bills of those who have tested positive soon after returning from overseas travel.
What are the New Guidelines?
However, this will change from the next month. The Ministry of Health conveyed the decision by stating, "Currently, unvaccinated persons make up a sizeable majority of those who require intensive inpatient care, and disproportionately contribute to the strain on our healthcare resources."
The new guidelines will apply only to those who choose not to be vaccinated despite being medically eligible, and who are hospitalized and are on Covid-19 treatment facilities on or after December 8, The Straits Times reported, citing the Health Minister Ong Ye Kung.
"Billing will still be based on our current subsidy framework, subject to MediSave use and MediShield Life claims, so it will still be highly supported and highly subsidized," the Health Minister said.
Medisave is a personal savings account for all Singaporeans to help tackle heavy medical expenses should the need arise in the future. MediShield Life is a low-cost medical insurance initiative to help Singaporeans pay for larger B2/C class wards hospitalization bills. They both are linked to compulsory savings under the Central Provident Fund covering all employees.
Government will continue to cover the full Covid medical costs of those who are ineligible for vaccination, including children under the age of 12, and those who cannot receive the jabs for medical reasons. People who are partially vaccinated will not be charged for Covid-19 bills until December 31, according to MOH.
Rising Covid-19 Cases in Singapore
Singapore is struggling with rising Covid cases and in the last month, public hospital emergency departments, saw up to an eight-fold increase in the number of patients who have positive results using ART (antigen rapid test) or PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests.
The country has converted the F1 Pit Building used for Grand Prix races into a 721-bed COVID-19 treatment facility in order to boost hospital facilities.
As many as 2,307 new community cases were detected on November 8. The weekly infection growth rate is 0.84. Singapore has also reported emerging cases of a rare virus-linked paediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) among children.