COVID-19 patients who are unvaccinated by choice could face S$25,000 bill before subsidies, says MOH
SINGAPORE: COVID-19 patients who are voluntarily unvaccinated and require intensive care could be looking at a bill of about S$25,000, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Friday (Nov 12).
This comes after MOH announced on Monday that from Dec 8, all COVID-19 patients who are unvaccinated "by choice" will have to pay their own medical bills if they are admitted to hospitals or COVID-19 treatment facilities.
The ministry said then that Singaporeans and permanent residents would still be able to access regular Government subsidies and MediShield Life or the Integrated Shield Plan where applicable.
Since February last year, the Singapore Government has paid for the hospital bills incurred by coronavirus patients in public hospitals.
Responding to queries from the media, MOH said on Friday that the bill would vary depending on the severity of the patient’s condition as well as the type of facility where care is rendered.
"Generally, the median bill size for COVID-positive patients receiving treatment in acute hospitals who require both ICU care and COVID-19 therapeutics is estimated to be about S$25,000," said MOH.
"Means-tested government subsidies and MediShield Life coverage can reduce the bill to about S$2,000-S$4,000 for eligible Singaporeans in subsidised wards," the ministry added, noting that patients may choose to use their MediSave balance to help fund this remaining amount.
MOH also said that the bill for COVID-19 positive patients who receive treatment in a COVID-19 treatment facility is expected to be around S$4,500 for a seven-day stay.
"For Singapore Citizens, after subsidies and MediShield Life where applicable, the co-payment is around S$1,000," it added.
MOH said travellers and short-term visit pass holders are currently charged for community isolation facility stays.
"At the moment, unvaccinated persons who are Singapore citizens, permanent residents, and long-term pass holders and have not travelled in last 14 days are not charged for (community isolation facility) stays should (it) be required."
Those who are partially vaccinated will have their medical bills paid for by the Government until Dec 31 to allow them time to be fully vaccinated, MOH said earlier this week.
INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR UNVACCINATED
Separately, some insurance companies have told CNA they will continue to provide coverage for COVID-19 patients who are unvaccinated.
“The existing coverage provided by our IncomeShield policies for COVID-19-related hospitalisation will continue regardless of the insured’s COVID-19 vaccination status," said a spokesperson for insurer NTUC Income.
"Those insured by our Hospital Care Insurance policies which offer a daily cash payout during hospitalisation, even due to COVID-19, will also continue to be covered regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status."
The insurer added that the extent of coverage would depend on the individual policy’s benefits and terms and conditions.
AIA Singapore said it "currently provides coverage for customers regardless of their vaccination status and continues to protect our customers for their medical treatment".
The company noted that last year AIA introduced free insurance cover for eligible customers’ hospitalisation income and coverage for death due to COVID-19.
The Life Insurance Association, Singapore said that MOH’s announcement means that normal healthcare financing arrangements would apply for unvaccinated COVID-19 patients.
"This means that if the patient has an Integrated Shield Plan, (they) will be able to claim from that plan, which includes the Medishield Life portion as well," said LIA Singapore.
The claim would then be assessed in accordance with policy terms and conditions, as Integrated Shield Plan insurers do not have special clauses in their policies that specifically pertain to COVID-19.