Sports injuries, fractures, sprains and back pain are some of the more debilitating and annoying ongoing ‘minor’ problems that affect most of us at one time or another. Physiotherapy can help us get back on track, but medical treatments in Singapore are expensive – and physiotherapy is no exception! It’s important know if your medical insurance includes these kinds of ongoing treatments as they can really add up! Pacific Prime Singapore discusses what types of health insurance plans cover physio treatments, and how to make sure your claims will be paid out.
What is physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy treats patients with chronic pain, often the result of sports injuries, poor posture, bad work ergonomics, accidents, joint/disc degeneration, ageing or even pregnancy. It aims to improve a patient’s quality of life, alleviate pain and restore function; or in the case of permanent injury or disease, lessen the effects of any dysfunction. Physiotherapists use a variety of treatments such as:
- Manual physiotherapy: Includes massages, manual resistance training and stretching.
- Exercise prescription and functional rehabilitation: To fully recover or learn how to control pain, patients are often are given a set of exercises and posture advice to work on.
- Electrotherapy techniques: Consists of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), laser therapy, ultrasounds or magnetic field therapy.
Many tend not to think about physiotherapy until they are in pain. Physiotherapy, if started early enough, can even prevent the need for surgery, improve overall mobility and manage pain. To be sure the cost of this is covered, it’s important to make sure your insurance plan covers it.
How much does it cost in Singapore?
As an expat, you do not have access to subsidised healthcare in public hospitals. So you’ll likely need to seek help in private physiotherapy centres. Prices vary depending on the treatment required. Usually, a first consultation visit plus manual treatment for 60 minutes can cost anywhere between $100 to $195. You may need multiple visits and different types of treatments, depending on your issue. So the overall cost of physiotherapy can skyrocket.
Which types of insurance cover physiotherapy?
Group Medical Insurance
If you’re working, then most likely your company’s group medical insurance covers either a certain amount of physiotherapy visits or up to a certain amount per year. When that limit is exhausted, you need to pay out of pocket for any other treatments you receive for the rest of the year. However, if you think that the benefit limit for physiotherapy on your current company medical plan is too low, there are multiple insurance top-up options. Topping up a plan is a great way to obtain comprehensive medical insurance while paying lower premiums as you are only paying for the additional benefits that are added to your existing benefits.
Private Medical Insurance
Another way to make sure you are covered in case you need physiotherapy treatment is by obtaining private medical insurance. It includes a wide range of outpatient benefits, some including physiotherapy.
Don’t forget your recommendation letter!
To undergo a physiotherapy session, you don’t require a recommendation letter because physiotherapists are qualified to assess your state themselves. However, insurers (in order to accept your physiotherapy claim) must have proof that such treatments are medically required. Obtaining a recommendation letter from your doctor first can be crucial for your claims to be accepted by the insurance company. Of course, plans and policies can vary between insurers, so be sure to ask your insurance provider or broker for details on your plan specifics.
A plan with inpatient coverage only will not cover any physiotherapy costs or follow-up appointments should you require them. For this reason, comprehensive health insurance coverage is something you should consider.