Singapore No Longer Covering COVID-19 Medical Bills for People Who Are ‘Unvaccinated by Choice’

By Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly
Reporter
Mimi Nguyen Ly is a world news reporter based in Australia. She holds a bachelor's degree in optometry and vision science. Contact her at mimi.nl@epochtimes.com.
November 9, 2021 Updated: November 9, 2021

Singapore’s health ministry announced Monday that people who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine but choose not to take it will not have their medical bills covered by the government after Dec. 8.

“Currently, unvaccinated persons make up a sizable majority of those who require intensive inpatient care, and disproportionately contribute to the strain on our healthcare resources,” part of the announcement reads.

“Hence, from 8 December 2021, we will begin charging COVID-19 patients who are unvaccinated by choice. This will apply to all unvaccinated COVID-19 patients admitted on or after 8 December 2021 to hospitals and [COVID-19 Treatment Facilities]. COVID-19 medical bills for those who are ineligible for vaccination will still be fully paid for by the government, i.e. children under 12 years old or medically ineligible persons.”

Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s minister for health, told a virtual news conference that hospital costs to be imposed on the “unvaccinated by choice” COVID-19 patients “will still be highly supported and highly subsidised.”

“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,” he said.

The Singapore Ministry of Health said the government has previously been covering the full COVID-19 medical bills for all Singaporeans, permanent residents, and long-term visit pass holders, with the exception of people who tested positive shortly after returning from overseas.

The ministry explained that the arrangement was “to avoid financial considerations adding to public uncertainty and concern when COVID-19 was an emergent and unfamiliar disease.”

It added, “For the majority who are vaccinated, this special approach for COVID-19 bills will continue until the COVID-19 situation is more stable.”

Singapore has 82.47 percent of its population fully vaccinated, according to data via Johns Hopkins University.

Singapore in late October reported a record high in new daily COVID-19 cases and deaths since the start of the pandemic. The health ministry said at the time it was looking into the “unusual surge” of new infections. At the time the ICU utilization rate was nearing 80 percent with more beds being added.

The Asian city-state saw a total of 101,853 new COVID-19 cases in October.

Mimi Nguyen Ly
Mimi Nguyen Ly is a world news reporter based in Australia. She holds a bachelor's degree in optometry and vision science. Contact her at mimi.nl@epochtimes.com.