Covid-19 ICU patients who chose to be unvaccinated could face median bill of $25,000 before subsidies: MOH

With subsidies, the amount payable is significantly lower, the Ministry of Health said.
With subsidies, the amount payable is significantly lower, the Ministry of Health said.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Covid-19 patients who are unvaccinated by choice and end up in the intensive care unit (ICU) could be looking at a bill of around $25,000 before subsidies. 

With subsidies and insurance, the amount payable is significantly lower, the Ministry of Health (MOH) told The Straits Times.

The $25,000 is the median acute hospital bill size for those who require both ICU care and Covid-19 therapeutics, MOH said. “Means-tested government subsidies and MediShield Life coverage can reduce the bill to about $2,000 to $4,000 for eligible Singaporeans in subsidised wards.”

Covid-19 patients can use their MediSave balance to help fund this remaining amount, said an MOH spokesman. 

Depending on the severity of the patient’s condition and the type of Covid-19 facility where care is rendered, the bill size would vary, said the spokesman.

The authorities announced recently that from Dec 8, those who are unvaccinated will have to foot their own medical bill if they become ill with Covid-19.

These are the people who can get vaccinated but choose not to do so. They form a big group of the Covid-19 patients who end up in the ICU. 

If these people are sent to a Covid-19 treatment facility, the bill there is expected to be around $4,500 for a seven-day stay, the MOH spokesman said.

“For Singapore citizens, after subsidies and MediShield Life where applicable, the co-payment is around $1,000.”

Those who are partially vaccinated will not be charged until Dec 31 to allow them time to be fully vaccinated.

There are also community isolation facilities (CIFs) here. Currently, travellers and short-term visit pass holders are charged for CIF stays.

“At the moment, unvaccinated persons who are Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders and have not travelled in the last 14 days are not charged for CIF stays, should a CIF stay be required,” the spokesman said.

The authorities have said that the usual healthcare financing arrangements would apply to the Covid-19 bills of those who are unvaccinated by choice. 

This means that if the patient has an Integrated Shield Plan, he will be able to claim from that plan, a check with the Life Insurance Association Singapore shows. 

Currently, the Government is footing the full Covid-19 medical bills of all Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders, other than for those who tested positive soon after returning from overseas travel.

It has said that for the majority who are vaccinated, this special approach for Covid-19 bills will continue until the pandemic situation is more stable.

As at Nov 11, there were 1,610 Covid-19 cases in hospitals. A total of 129 of them were in the ICU, including 59 who were being closely monitored.