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Endometriosis and Insurance in Singapore: A Pre-Existing Condition?

Endometriosis is a common, but serious, condition that affects many women in Singapore, and across the world. What's more, some insurance policies will not provide coverage for women with endometriosis. Why is this? Read on to find out more.

Posted on Jun 11, 2015 by Travis Jones

 

What is it?

Endometriosis affects approximately 1 in 10 women around the world. It’s a condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus migrate to the fallopian tubes, the ovaries or surrounding outer surfaces such as the intestines, bowel or bladder. It is a common gynecological disease. In many cases asymptomatic, endometriosis can, in other cases, cause irregular menstrual cycles, pain during menstruation or intercourse, or chronic fatigue.

Many women may not realize that they have endometriosis until attempting a pregnancy. Endometriosis causes infertility in 30 to 40 percent of all cases. This is because migrating cells can scar the fallopian tubes, disrupt ovarian hormones or distort the anatomy of the pelvis, altering an eggs ability to achieve healthy implantation in the uterus.

Endometriosis can be diagnosed by a blood test or ultrasound, although the most effective form of diagnosis is by laparoscopy, which allows the most accurate view of the reproductive organs. After performing an initial pelvic examination and medical history review, a gynecologist can direct a woman toward the best method of further diagnostic tests.

Singapore’s Health Promotion Board has more information on endometriosis here.

What treatment is available?

Women not trying to get pregnant may be able to treat endometriosis with the help of hormonal birth control methods. Contraceptive pills, patches or the ring, or hormonal IUDs, block the body’s production of estrogen – which can prevent migrating uterine cells from becoming active during the body’s monthly menstrual cycle and stop the accompanying pain. Other hormonal, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can likewise help to reduce pain in the pelvis and cramping during menstruation.

If a patient is experiencing endometriosis but does not wish to take a hormonal contraceptive, she may choose to address symptoms with an over-the-counter pain reliever. These are effective in many cases, but in severe examples of endometriosis a prescription-strength medication to reduce pain may be necessary.

In the most severe of endometriosis cases, doctors may recommend surgery.  A laparoscopic, keyhole surgery allows a doctor to remove instances of endometriosis without cutting open a patient’s abdomen. A laparotomy, on the other hand, does involve cutting into the abdomen and may be necessary if endometriosis is particularly serious or widespread.

Is it covered by insurance?

Any insurance plan that covers gynecological services should cover at least some level of endometriosis treatment – a doctor’s visit, diagnostic exams and prescription-strength painkillers. However, some insurance companies list endometriosis as a pre-existing condition – even if it was undiagnosed at the time a coverage plan was purchased. Women should also be aware that some insurance policies will not cover any gynecological care during the first year of service – including treatment or diagnosis for endometriosis.

Pacific Prime believes that endometriosis diagnosis, outpatient treatment and surgery are essential health care services. That’s why our International Health Insurance plans do provide comprehensive benefits, even for pre-existing conditions. Our insurance partners provide a level of coverage we know endometriosis sufferers will appreciate, with no exclusions under a pre-existing condition clause.  

To find out more information about International Health Insurance plans and coverage for pre-existing conditions, including endometriosis, contact Pacific Prime today for a comparison of various insurance plans from the world’s best insurers. Our helpful agents are standing by.

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