The Rising Threat of Dengue Fever: Learn How To Cover your Healthcare Costs

Aedes dengue mosquito
About this article:
  • Understand the symptoms and risks of dengue fever.
  • Visit Urgent Care Centres (UCCs) or the Accident & Emergency (A&E) for immediate treatment for severe dengue fever.
  • Know how to use your Personal Accident (PA) Plan or Integrated Shield Plan (IP) to cover your healthcare expenses for dengue fever.

According to the Straits Times, as of 15th April 2024, total dengue infections in Singapore have reached 5,581 in 2024, compared with the 2,611 cases in the same period in 2023. While symptoms might be mild for some, others face severe symptoms that may require hospitalisation.

With dengue fever cases expected to rise, let’s dive into which symptoms you should look out for, the importance of UCCs or A&E in addressing emergency symptoms, and how you can use an Accident Plan and/or hospitalisation plan to help you cover your healthcare costs.

The Potential Severity of Dengue Fever

Dengue Cases in Singapore

Dengue fever is caused by a virus transmitted through the bite of Aedes mosquitoes. It can cause a wide range of symptoms, from mild to severe:

Mild Dengue
Severe Dengue
About
This is the most common form of dengue with symptoms experienced by many.
Also known as Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF) or Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS), this is a life-threatening complication.
Symptoms
Sudden high fever (up to 40°C), Headache, Muscle and joint pain, Nausea and vomiting, Fatigue, Rash
Severe abdominal pain, Persistent vomiting, Bleeding gums or nosebleeds, Easy bruising, Blood in vomit, stool, or urine, Restlessness or irritability, Cold, clammy skin (in later stages)

Many people, like 38-year-old Singaporean entrepreneur Benjamin Loh (source: CNA), mistake dengue symptoms for other illnesses like COVID-19. 

But not only was he diagnosed with dengue fever, his symptoms were potentially life-threatening.

Mr Loh was running a high fever of 40°C, and saw a General Practitioner (GP), who suspected he was having dengue fever. 

After running a blood test, it was found that he had an alarmingly low platelet count, putting him at a fatal risk of excessive bleeding. 

Mr Loh rushed to the A&E, and was hospitalised for nearly a week for dengue fever, experiencing body aches, nausea, and high fever.

His experience sheds light on the unexpected progression in the severity of dengue fever. It’s thus important to be on the look out for the tell-tale signs of dengue fever for you and your loved ones. And as soon as you notice anything amiss don’t delay a visit to the doctor.

The Indispensable Role of UCCs or A&E

Urgent Care Centre Singapore

UCCs or A&Es in Singapore typically have shorter waiting times, reducing the risk of complications arising from delayed care. 

They are run by dedicated and qualified medical professionals and can provide initial diagnosis and medication for mild to moderate dengue cases. For serious cases requiring monitoring and treatment, your doctor at the UCC or A&E may advise that you be hospitalised.

As evident in Benjamin Loh’s case, getting prompt treatment for dengue fever at a UCC or A&E cannot be overstated, as speedy treatment can save your life.

Health Insurance for Dengue Fever

At this point, this thought may be crossing many of your minds: If dengue fever has the potential to land me at the A&E, how would I cover my healthcare costs, especially if I have to be admitted to the hospital?

MediShield Life may only be able to cover your hospitalisation expenses up to a certain extent. You would still have out-of-pocket expenses to pay, which can vary depending on the severity of your case and how long you need to be hospitalised.

Thankfully, with an Accident Plan, and/or a hospitalisation plan, you may be able to cover more of your healthcare costs related to dengue fever. This frees you up from stressing about whether you have enough cash available for your treatment or hospitalisation, and lets you fully focus on your recovery.

Personal Accident (PA) Insurance Plan

With a PA insurance plan, you may be able to claim certain outpatient and inpatient medical fees for your treatment.

However, coverage under a personal accident plan may not be as comprehensive as having an Integrated Shield Plan. 

Do speak to your financial adviser or insurance agent to know the extent of your coverage for dengue fever. 

Integrated Shield Plan (IP)

In severe cases of dengue fever, hospitalisation may be necessary. 

Integrated Shield Plans (IPs) offer additional hospitalisation coverage above MediShield Life including costs associated with being hospitalised in B1/A wards in government hospitals or private hospitals if you opted for private coverage. 

Furthermore, with a IP rider, your deductible and co-payment can be greatly reduced, thus offsetting your costs during hospitalisation.

Your IP coverage may also extend to pre-hospitalisation GP clinic visits, post-hospitalisation follow-up consultations, medication and more. 

Plan coverages can vary, so it is important to check with your financial adviser for the coverage that applies to you.

Steps to Utilise Your Health Insurance

So far, we’ve covered how health insurance plans like PA or IP may help offset your healthcare costs related to dengue fever. But how exactly do you go about fully utlising your plan? Here’s a simple guide to follow:

  1. If you visited a GP, and he or she notices warning signs of dengue fever, you may be advised to visit a UCC or A&E. Your GP should write you a referral letter to a UCC or A&E.

  2. Let your insurance provider know that you are seeking urgent care at the UCC and A&E.

  3. At the UCC or A&E, you may be advised to be hospitalised, depending on the severity of your condition.

  4. Let the hospital staff know that you would like to see a doctor from your insurer’s panel network in the ward. This allows you to maximise your health insurance plan as seeing a panel specialist helps you keepp your out-of-pocket expenses minimal.

Additional Tips to Stay Protected

  • Stay Informed: Monitor the latest dengue situation in Singapore through official channels like National Environment Agency (NEA).
  • Prevent Mosquito Bites: Implement mosquito control measures at home. This includes removing stagnant water where Aedes mosquitoes breed, using mosquito repellents, using a mosquito net at home, and more.
  • Early Detection: Be aware of dengue symptoms and seek medical attention promptly if you experience any of them. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve outcomes and reduce the risk of complications.

Stay Protected, Stay Covered

Dengue fever is a real health concern in Singapore. It can be life-threatening if symptoms worsen.

By understanding your health insurance options (IP and PA), you can confidently seek urgent care when you need it, without worrying about your finances. This let’s you place your focus on where it matters most your health.

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