New Delhi: In an attempt to get tough on people holding off from getting their jabs, the Singapore government on Monday announced that the COVID-19 patients who remain unvaccinated by choice will have to pay for their hospitalisation bills from December 8.
Currently, Singapore’s government takes care of the complete COVID-19 medical bills of all Singaporeans, permanent residents (PRs), and long-term pass holders, other than for those who have tested positive soon after returning from overseas travel.
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Speaking at a press conference, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Monday said that the government’s decision of not paying for unvaccinated people infected by COVID was an “important signal” for those who are still holding off on getting vaccinated, news agency PTI reported.
The multi-ministry task force tackling COVID-19 held the press conference where Ong stated that hospitals would much prefer not having to bill these patients, as he urged all those eligible to get vaccinated.
The appeal comes at a time when according to the Ministry of Health: “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 Straits Times reported that the new billing measure will apply only to those who choose not to be vaccinated despite being medically eligible, and who are hospitalised and are on COVID-19 treatment facilities on or after December 8.
“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 subsidised,” Ong said, as quoted by PTI.
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MediSave and MediShield are linked to compulsory savings under the Central Provident Fund that cover all employees.
The ministry informed that those who are ineligible for vaccination, such as children under 12 years of age, and those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons will continue to have their bills fully covered by the government.
On the other hand, people who are partially vaccinated will not be charged for COVID-19 bills until December 31, in a bid to give them time to get their second jabs.
However, after this deadline, they will also have to foot their own medical bills if they contract the virus.
The individuals who are medically ineligible for all COVID-19 vaccines under the National Vaccination Programme will be exempted from the vaccination-differentiated safe management measures from December 1, PTI cited The Straits Times as reporting.
Singapore had on Sunday reported 2,553 cases and 17 deaths. So far, a total of 218,333 positive cases have been reported there.
(With Agency Inputs)