Singapore’s health system to stop covering medical costs for patients ‘unvaccinated by choice’
LOS ANGELES - Singapore’s government announced that beginning Dec. 8, medical patients who are not vaccinated for the novel coronavirus will not have their medical bills covered.
The nation’s Ministry of Health said these patients are "unvaccinated by choice" and will no longer be covered by the country’s health care system.
"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," the ministry wrote in a press release published on Monday.
RELATED: Multiple hospitals denying organ transplants to unvaccinated patients
Prior to this announcement, Singapore had been covering medical costs for the country’s COVID-19 patients including permanent residents and long-term passport holders. This coverage had excluded anyone who tested positive for the virus after returning from overseas travel.
The ministry explained that the coverage was "to avoid financial considerations adding to public uncertainty and concern when COVID-19 was an emergent and unfamiliar disease."
Now the coverage only applies to individuals who can provide proof they have been vaccinated for the virus.
"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 on Monday
"For the majority who are vaccinated, this special approach for COVID-19 bills will continue until the COVID-19 situation is more stable," the statement read.
When this new policy is implemented in December, anyone who is admitted to a hospital due to a COVID-19-related issue or sent to a "COVID-19 Treatment Facilities," will be left on their own financially.
However, there are some exceptions to the new policy including people who aren’t yet eligible to get inoculated including children under 12 and people with specific medical exemptions.
In the United States, some doctors have taken a similar approach, opting not to treat patients who refuse to get their shots.
Dr. Jason Valentine, a medical practitioner in Alabama, posted on his Facebook giving his patients an ultimatum to get the vaccine by Oct. 1 or be turned away for treatment.
"Effective October 1st, 2021, Dr. Valentine will no longer see patients that are not vaccinated against COVID-19," the sign read.
RELATED: Doctor says he won’t see unvaccinated patients, reports say
The post is no longer visible. FOX Television Stations reached out to Valentine’s office for comment about the deleted post.
Valentine claimed three unvaccinated patients asked him where they could get the vaccine after he introduced his new policy. "No conspiracy theories, no excuses. Just where do they go," he wrote, according to reports.
Across the country, multiple U.S. hospitals have been denying organ transplants to patients who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 "in almost all situations," citing studies that show unvaccinated patients have a significantly higher risk for severe illness and death if they get COVID-19.
UCHealth in Colorado is one of the systems that implemented the policy, making the shot mandatory for the "safe care" of its patients.
RELATED: CDC: Unvaccinated nearly 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19
"For transplant patients who contract COVID-19, the mortality rate ranges from about 20% to more than 30%. This shows the extreme risk that COVID-19 poses to transplant recipients after their surgeries," a spokesperson for UCHealth said in a statement. "In almost all situations, transplant recipients and living donors at UCHealth are now required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in addition to meeting other health requirements and receiving additional vaccinations. Some U.S. transplant centers already have this requirement in place, and others are making this change in policy now."