Diabetes is a major health problem among Malaysians. According to Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, a total of 3.6 million Malaysians have it, with 1.8 million may be unaware that they are diabetic as they never went for health screening.
This number has been continuously rising for years, and if you are related to someone who has diabetes, you’re at higher risk of having it yourself. It’s a pandemic that seems to have no end in sight.
The biggest issue with diabetes is that not only will it take a slow but sure toll on your health, it does the same for your finances too.
Here are some of the costs you need to consider should you be diagnosed with diabetes.
Outpatient diabetes treatment cost
Whether you have Type 1 or 2, you will have to deal with ongoing treatments to help you manage and keep your condition stable for the long run. The Hemoglobin A1c test (HbA1c, A1c, or Hb1c), which is used to determine the average concentration of glucose in the blood plasma, is a common test for diabetics that need to be taken about two to seven times a year. There are also blood test devices and medications that need to be considered as well.
Here’s how much the cost will look like.
Diabetic treatment in the hospital
Even though your condition can be controlled on your own with medication, there’s always the chance of you having to be hospitalised due to issues such as hyperglycemia, where your blood sugar level increases to dangerous levels that require further monitoring and increases in insulin dosages. Hyperglycemia would require not only medical personnel to watch over your condition, but would also require you to consult with specialists as well to check on your diet and exercise regime. This would all build up in cost eventually. But how much in general?
According to the Pharmaceutical Services Division from the Ministry Of Health Malaysia, the average cost per diabetic patient over six months is around RM466.20 in 2014. However, with the medical inflation rate at 12.7% per annum and expected to increase in years to come, that amount is bound to be higher today.
This amount also excludes the treatments you may require for heart disease, stroke and even kidney disease, which diabetics are more susceptible to. Kidney dialysis costs between RM150 and RM250 per session on average, while a heart transplant would cost you up to RM100,000!
The indirect costs of diabetes
It’s not just the cost of treating your diabetes alone that you will need to consider. You may also stand to lose your income when you are forced to take unpaid leave for extended hospitalisation or treatment.
Let’s say you’re a middle-income earner making RM4,000 a month with a white-collar job, and you need to take unpaid leave to see a doctor for your condition. Here’s how much of your income you stand to lose:
Cost per day due to days away from work =
RM4,000 / 21 working days = RM190.48
If you take 8 days of unpaid leave in one year:
RM190.48 x 8 = RM1,523.84
That’s RM1,523.84 lost in income a year!
There are other factors, such as transport and lodging if the clinic or hospital you’re going to is a lot further than expected. For transport, here’s a rough estimation of how much you may be spending if you’re driving a Perodua Myvi, and the distance to the hospital is roughly 20km away.
|Distance per litre
|5.0 litre/100 km
|Distance to hospital to and from home
|Amount of petrol used
|Petrol price per liter
|Total cost of petrol used for 4 trips to the hospital
There may be other hidden expenses that you may not realise, such as lodging. The cost of managing and treating your diabetes is not limited to just medical cost.
Cut down those costs with the right preparation
A healthy diet and lifestyle may be enough to keep diabetes at bay for some people, but those who are genetically prone to diabetes have a 50/50 chance of getting it despite making healthy choices.
So the best step you can take to prepare yourself from all of these costs is to get health insurance as a precaution, especially if your risk of diabetes could lead to other causes of heart and kidney complications that could cost you more. But what if you already have diabetes and find it hard to get coverage?
Then look for insurance plans that cover you even when you have been diagnosed, such as the Allianz Diabetic Essential, the first medical plan in Malaysia for diabetics. This insurance plan gives you a choice of four medical plans to cover the cost of hospitalisation and surgery, and also access to outpatient treatment for cancer and kidney dialysis. It also provides an annual health screening benefit, which includes the HbA1c blood test mentioned earlier, as well as other tests such as the kidney function test, lipid profile, medical examination and full urine examination. And depending on the medical report, you may receive up to 40% off on your premium!
Diabetes may be a rising health issue in Malaysia, but with the right preparation, it can be less of an issue to both your health and your finances. So take this chance to sign up for the right health insurance that will give you peace of mind.