'Important signal': Unvaccinated COVID-19 patients in Singapore to now pay their hospital bills

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Nov 09, 2021, 12:33 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in Singapore Photograph:( Reuters )

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MediSave and MediShield are both linked to compulsory savings under the Central Provident Fund covering all employees

COVID-19 patients in Singapore who do not get vaccinated by choice will have to pay their hospitalisation bills, starting from December 8, the government has said. As of now, the government completely funds the COVID-19 medical bills of all Singaporeans, permanent residents and even the long-term pass holders. 

The government excludes those who have tested positive soon after returning from overseas travel. Health Minister Ong Ye Kung has described this decision as an "important signal" to those who are not getting jabbed.

"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 Ministry of Health said.

MediSave and MediShield are both linked to compulsory savings under the Central Provident Fund covering all employees.

"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 Ye Kung said.

Also read | Singapore approves 'foreign interference' bill, critics slam move

However, those who are ineligible for vaccination, including children under 12 years of age, and those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons will continue to have their bills covered by the government. People who are partially vaccinated will not be charged for COVID-19 bills until December 31. 

Meanwhile, Singapore recently opened its borders to more countries for quarantine-free travel. This comes as the city-state seeks to rebuild its status as an international aviation hub, and prepares to reach a "new normal" to adapt to COVID-19.

Also read | 'New normal': Singapore expands quarantine-free travel to adapt to COVID-19

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Singapore will reach a new normal and can lighten restrictions when cases stabilise, even if they stay in the hundreds. "It will take us at least three months, and perhaps as long as six months, to get there," Lee said in an address to the nation.

He added, "After this surge stabilises, we may still see future surges, especially if new variants emerge. We may have to tap on the brakes again if cases again grow too fast, to protect our healthcare system and healthcare workers."

(With inputs from agencies)

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