When you need to see a dermatologist
Humidity can increase the occurrence or recurrence of certain skin conditions and it can be difficult to know if it’s eczema or just a heat rash. Or, you may need to get a mole checked or help get your teen’s acne under control. Dermatology in Singapore is expensive and the cost of consultations, creams and medicine can really add up. We take a look at some common skin conditions and the cost of both private and public consultations, to find out if health insurance can help cover some of the treatment costs.
Top three skin conditions in Singapore
In 2017, 9.6 percent of skin conditions treated at the National Skin Centre (NSC) involved acne. Hot and humid climates can cause excessive sweating that makes it easy for dust and dirt to become trapped in the skin’s pores. The heat can also cause the skin to produce excess sebum. It increases oiliness and makes the skin a breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to an acne flare-up.
Eczema refers to skin inflammation and is one of the main causes of sensitive and dry skin. It affects an average of one out of 10 people at some point in their life. Allergies, dust, excessive sweating, sun creams and chlorines can worsen the condition.
#3 Heat rash
This skin condition is caused by blocked sweat ducts and causes blisters, small bumps and itchiness. Excessive sweating, along with non-breathable clothing, can make this worse. Keeping the skin cool can help prevent heat rash; take cold showers and avoid shower gels that could irritate your skin.
Public versus private dermatological treatment
If you choose to go to the NSC, you might have to wait up to six weeks for an appointment as walk-ins are not allowed. Note that as a foreigner, you won’t enjoy subsidised rates there. But you can get an earlier appointment date by arranging to see an NSC dermatologist through a referral from a private doctor or medical centre. Consultations starts from $115.
Making an appointment with a private dermatologist tends to be much faster. Most clinics can offer you an appointment within two days of contacting them. Your first consultation with a private dermatologist will cost around $120 to $140, and you can expect to pay another $150 to $300 for medication. It can be pricey, especially if you require frequent visits.
Does health insurance cover dermatological care?
Whether or not your private medical insurance covers dermatological care depends on the type of plan you have. It’s crucial that you read and understand your policy before committing to it.
Plans that cover outpatient treatment usually include the costs of visiting a family doctor or GP to have your skin irritation examined first. However, referrals to specialists such as dermatologists are an additional benefit that you’ll often need to pay for.
If you have already been dealing with with the condition when you signed up for your insurance plan, it will be seen as a pre-existing condition. International health insurance providers, however, are generally more tolerant of those with pre-existing conditions. For instance, some providers will cover them if you agree on a waiting period or pay a premium.
Also, medical insurance plans only cover medically necessary treatments so most cosmetic dermatological treatments such as fillers and chemical peels are excluded.
For more advice on health insurance for dermatological treatment, contact the team at Pacific Prime Singapore and get a free quote.
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