Diabetes has become one of the most prevalent diseases in the world – and numbers are rising. Singapore is not exempt from these statistics. According to the Ministry of Health, the percentage of people with diabetes in Singapore was only 4.7% in 1984. Now, according to the IDF, it’s around 14% (ages 20 to 79). Here, we take a look at what’s being done and other considerations, including getting health insurance coverage for diabetes.
Diabetes in Singapore
While it’s difficult to pinpoint how many people have this disease worldwide, the International Diabetes Federation places the figure at around 463 million globally (ages 20 to 79 years). Out of these, 640,400 people in Singapore have the disease (as of 2020). Former Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health Amrin Amin has also estimated that about 19,000 people are being diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes annually.
How is Singapore managing diabetes?
Many organisations – both government-backed and private – have stepped in to help.
#1 Diabetes-oriented clinics and services
Both private and public hospitals and centres are offering diabetes-related medical help. They’re also able to offer information and medical care to improve the quality of life of those living with diabetes.
For example, Changi General Hospital offers a wide variety of specialist diabetes services and resources through their Diabetes, Obesity, Metabolism and Endocrine Centre (DOME). And there are others, like Abbot Singapore, which offers medical care products for those with diabetes.
#2 Online resources
The government’s medical branches have created websites that provide helpful information on diabetes, treatment options, statistics and more. SingHealth’s section on diabetes, for instance, gives quick and easy access to everything you might need to know about the disease. Other websites, like HealthXchange, have a wide variety of articles about diabetes. The Ministry of Health (MOH) also offers plenty of information through resources like this one, setting guidelines on diagnosis and treatment. It’s targeted at doctors but it’s still an interesting read.
#3 Collaborations for better management of diabetes
The MOH is constantly working with different organisations to improve diabetes management. Launched in 2019, Soliqua is an injectable prescription treatment that relieves Type 2 diabetes symptoms. Administered once a day, it combines two diabetes drugs: insulin glargine and lixisenatide. It’s one of the many drugs being rolled out currently, while new ones are also being looked at with the aim of improving quality of life for patients.
#4 Official diabetes campaign
As of 2016, the Ministry of Health has declared a War on Diabetes. The nationwide effort focuses on prevention through a healthy lifestyle, detection and intervention at an early stage, as well as improved management of the disease. Head to the MOH website for updates.
What’s more, Singapore has also become the first country to ban advertisements for drinks with high sugar content. This aims to allow informed choices and encourage drink manufacturers to reduce the sugar content of products.
What can I do?
Of course, we shouldn’t just rely on the government to solve the problem. In addition to taking personal preventative measures, at-risk individuals should go for regular health screenings to ensure that everything is going well. Take this online diabetes assessment by MOH to find out if you’re at risk (ages 18 to 39).
How about health insurance?
With the number of cases of diabetes on the rise, more people will be seeking treatment, translating to an increase in healthcare costs. Many insurance providers also view patients with diabetes as high risk. So, if you have diabetes, some insurers may not cover treatments, while others will increase the loading on premiums. If you look for a new plan, you’ll need to pay a certain percentage in addition to the advertised premium to include diabetes treatments. In Singapore, this can be as much as 50% – and it could increase in the future.
Get in touch with a broker like Pacific Prime Singapore who can help you find a suitable plan that meets your needs.
Read on for more about insurance and other health and fitness topics in Singapore.