So far, the Government has been generously footing the medical bills of all Covid-19 patients who’re Singaporeans, permanent residents (PRs) and long-term pass holders.
However, we’ve been urged to get vaccinated to reduce the chances of falling seriously ill and taking up healthcare resources.
Thus, those who choose to remain unvaccinated will have to pay for their own treatment from 8 Dec.
Those who’re medically ineligible for any vaccine will still have their bills paid for.
In a news update on Monday (8 Nov) evening, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said the Government decided to pay for Singaporeans’ Covid-19 treatment when it was still “an emergent and unfamiliar disease”.
This was so that the cost of possible treatment wouldn’t further add to public concern over the pandemic.
Now that the majority of our population is vaccinated, their chances of falling seriously ill are reduced.
The Government will still pay for the medical treatment of vaccinated people, should they need it, if they come down with Covid-19.
As for the partially vaccinated, they’ll also get free treatment until 31 Dec to have time to be fully vaccinated.
This will be the case at least until the situation stabilises, MOH said.
However, “a sizeable majority” of patients who need intensive care are unvaccinated, the ministry added.
That means they’re making disproportionate use of our healthcare resources, considering they make up the minority.
Another way to look at it is that somebody, who chose not to be vaccinated and ended up being warded for Covid-19, could’ve avoided contributing to the strain on resources.
Thus, from 8 Dec, when such a patient is admitted, they’ll be charged the full amount for their treatment, MOH said.
This includes Covid-19 patients entering the hospital and Covid-19 Treatment Facilities (CTFs).
They’ll still be able to pay their bills using regular Government subsidies and MediShield Life/Integrated Shield plans if they’re a Singaporean or PR.
Long-term pass holders can take out private health insurance to help subsidise their Covid-19 treatment.
Even so, there’s also a part of Singapore’s population who are medically ineligible for any vaccination.
That means they can’t receive any vaccines under the National Vaccination Programme (i.e. Pfizer, Moderna and Sinovac).
Either that, or they are children below 12 years old who’re not cleared to get vaccinated yet.
The Government will fully pay the Covid-19 medical bills for this group, MOH said.
With more Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) opening up, more people might be tempted to go on vacation overseas.
However, they should note that if they’re diagnosed with Covid-19 after returning, they’ll also have to pay for their medical treatment.
According to MOH, recent travellers won’t have their Covid-19 medical bills fully paid for from 1 Jan.
This applies to Singaporeans, PRs and long-term pass holders, even if they’re fully vaccinated.
Considering 85% of our population has received at least 2 doses of vaccine, those who refused to are in the minority.
So, many would agree it makes sense that they shouldn’t be allowed to strain healthcare resources unnecessarily and not even pay for it.
While this decision may not reduce healthcare workers’ burden, it might make things more equitable.
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Featured image adapted from Tan Tock Seng Hospital on Facebook.
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