Unvaccinated by choice? COVID patients in Singapore must pay for own medical bills from 8 Dec

SINGAPORE — From 8 December, COVID-19 patients who are unvaccinated by choice must pay for their bills incurred at hospitals and COVID treatment facilities, said the multi-ministry task force on COVID-19 (MTF) on Monday (8 November).

Speaking at a virtual media briefing, Health Minister and MTF co-chair Ong Ye Kung alluded to a parliamentary sitting where he told the House that hospital charges will be imposed on COVID patients who are eligible but choose not to be vaccinated.

Billing will still be based on the current subsidy framework, subject to Medisave use and MediShield Life claims, so the cost will still be "highly supported and highly subsidised", said Ong.

"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."

Those who are partially vaccinated will not be charged until 31 December. COVID-19 medical bills for those who are ineligible for vaccination will still be fully paid for by the government, such as children under 12 or medically ineligible individuals.

Meanwhile, from 15 November, medically ineligible individuals can visit any general practitioner clinic or public or private healthcare institution to be certified as medically ineligible, subject to meeting the revised criteria.

They will be issued with a standard paper memo, which should be presented along with a government-issued photo identification card to be exempted from vaccination-differentiated measures.

The Ministry of Health is also working with GovTech to reflect the medical ineligibility status in individuals’ TraceTogether app, so that they are able to pass through check-in systems at affected venues without needing to show the paper memo.

"While we have extended a concession to those who are medically ineligible to be able to dine-in, enter malls and participate in activities where (vaccination-differentiated measures are) required, they remain unvaccinated and their risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and/or becoming severely ill remains real and very high," said the MOH.

"We strongly encourage these individuals to minimise such activities and to use this concession judiciously."

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