What you need to know about allergies and health insurance in Singapore

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We answer some burning questions on allergies in Singapore, possible signs and symptoms, and how health insurance can help you out…

Suddenly find yourself or your kids coughing, sneezing, or itching profusely? Chances are it’s those pesky ‘friends’ we call allergies. We’ve all been there, and can certainly vouch for how awful it is to have to trudge through a pile of work or stay on your game with the kids whilst reaching for tissues every two seconds. No. Thank. You. Not to mention the costs – and stress – racked up if a severe allergic reaction requires a dreaded trip to the hospital. We asked our friends at Pacific Prime Singapore to help us find out what causes allergies, common signs and symptoms, and options for health insurance coverage.  

Allergies are a chronic condition for countless people, but truth be told, it’s sometimes hard to pin down the exact cause of an allergy. That being said, there are some allergies we tend to see more of in Singapore. Here’s a brief rundown:

Nasal allergies
If your nose is leaking like a faulty tap or really clogged up but you don’t have a cold, it’s likely that nasal allergies are the culprits. In fact, it’s been reported by The Straits Times that one in three people here suffer from some form of nasal allergy symptom, and kids and teens aged 4-17 are often particularly affected.

Food allergies
We’ve heard of allergies to food such as chocolate or seafood, but thankfully these aren’t that common here. On these shores, shellfish, peanuts, and Galacto-oligosaccharides (a prebiotic present in many milk formulas) are the more prevalent food allergens.

Atopic eczema, or itchy red skin, is another common condition facing kids here. Triggers can be anything from dust mites, changes in climate conditions, to soap and insect bites.

Also referred to as the reversible narrowing of the airways, asthma causes breathing difficulties and triggers coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

How can I tell if I what I’m experiencing is an allergy?
It’s tricky to ascertain whether the symptoms you’re having are caused by allergens, or something else entirely. Your best bet is to visit a GP or allergist, who will study your medical history and perform an allergy test if necessary. There are some common symptoms to look out for though, including a sore throat, coughing, a runny nose, watery eyes and skin rashes, among others.

Do also be aware of more severe reactions such as anaphylactic shock, which is potentially fatal if not treated immediately. This is when the body’s blood pressure drops suddenly and airways become narrow, blocking breathing. Obviously, this one requires a speedy trip to the hospital, and ongoing risk management.

What are the costs of allergy treatment in SG?
Lots of things are state-of-the-art on our little red dot, and we’re grateful this includes health treatment. The flipside is that the costs can rack up to a heart-stopping amount, especially if you’re not subsidized by Singapore’s Medisave system. For instance, private hospital admission due to severe allergic rhinitis can cost up to $8,221, and hospitalization for asthma can easily set you back by up to $9,335.

Does my health insurance cover allergies?
Given the sky-high costs, finding a health insurance plan that covers allergy treatment could be your saving grace. It’s worth noting that many (but not all) insurance providers view allergies as a pre-existing condition. This unfortunately means you may be ineligible for coverage. Not to fret though, there are alternatives available. Your insurer may offer to cover your pre-existing condition(s) at an extra premium, or attach a waiting period to that condition. You may also wish to add your newborn to your health insurance policy so they’re covered should allergies develop at a young age.

As every health insurance plan differs, it pays to talk to an experienced insurance specialist, like the folks over at Pacific Prime Singapore. These guys have provided insurance advice to Singapore expats and their families for many years now, so they’re the people in the know. Give them a buzz to find out more!


This post is sponsored by Pacific Prime.