Singapore’s government will no longer provide free state treatment for the unvaccinated should they get infected by the virus.
Before now, government has been covering the medical bills of COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic but starting from December 8, ‘unvaccinated by choice’ will soon be on their own according to the Ministry of Health.
“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,” read the statement from the Ministry.
However, the majority who are vaccinated will continue to enjoy free treatment on the state until situation is more stable.”
The policy change means the government will start charging all unvaccinated COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals and designated “COVID-19 Treatment Facilities” on or after Dec. 8. Those patients can still use their regular health care financing arrangements to pay their bills where applicable.
There are a few exceptions though – People who aren’t eligible for vaccination, like children under 12 and people with medical exemptions. These people will still have their medical bills covered by the government. And people who are partially vaccinated won’t be charged until Dec. 31, to give them time to complete the full series.
“Our 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,” Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said.
Singapore has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. As of Sunday, 85% of its population was fully vaccinated, and 18% had received booster shots, according to health ministry data.