Life in Singapore is fast-paced and, at times, hectic. There are family commitments to attend to, friends to catch up with, and of course, a career to build.
In the midst of our often chaotic schedules, it's easy to overlook your own health, or to even ignore the importance of it. The irony is we are nothing without good health, and good health is one of the few things in life money cannot buy.
While there are health matters that are beyond your control, or even those of your doctor's, there are other aspects pertaining to your health that you can exercise greater control over. This includes leading a healthy lifestyle by eating right, exercising regularly and sleeping well. To monitor your health, schedule regular preventive health screening.
How often are singaporeans going for health screening?
According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), only about 39 per cent of women aged between 50 to 69 in Singapore went for a screening mammography in the past two years, even though the MOH has strongly recommended it. Screening mammograms are x-ray images of the breast and are used to aid early detection of breast cancer and ensure treatments can be made when the chances of recovery are at its highest.
The MOH also reported that about 51 per cent of women aged 25 to 69 have gone for a Pap smear test over the past three years. A Pap smear test is used to check for cervical cancer.
While these statistics are encouraging as it shows that a significant group of the population are aware of the importance of having these regular screenings, there is still much that can be done to get a greater majority to go for regular check-ups.
Types of tests you can take
Both the Pap smear and mammography screening fall under what is known as a Type 1 screening test. Type 1 screening tests are considered as beneficial for everyone. Such tests include blood pressure measurement to screen for hypertension, colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer and fasting blood glucose test to screen for diabetes.
Other types of screening tests are also available. However, some of these are tests that are only deemed beneficial for certain groups of people. These include tests such as Audiometry for individuals who are exposed to excessive noises or work in very loud and noisy environments and Prostate-Specific Antigen, for men with a family history of prostate cancer.
Using your medisave to help pay for the health screenings
Your Medisave account can be used to offset the cost of some of these recommended preventive health screening tests.
For women aged 50 and above, up to $400 per Medisave account can be used for screening mammograms each year. Women are encouraged to go for a mammogram every two years.
For those aged 50 and above, up to $1,850 may be used per year to screen for colonoscopies at approved colonoscopy centres. The exact claimable amount depends on procedures carried out.
AIA Vitality – Giving you additional reward for health screening
In addition to using your Medisave monies to offset the cost of health screenings, health programmes such as the AIA Vitality also rewards you for taking proactive steps to complete eligible screenings. Eligible screenings include Pap smear, Mammogram, Colon Cancer and Cholesterol.
For each of these eligible screenings undertaken, members will earn 1,000 AIA Vitality points. The points accumulated will enable them to enjoy a higher AIA Vitality Status, which would translate into discounts on their insurance premiums with AIA. This is an indirect way to acknowledge and reward policyholders for being responsible for taking care of their own health through regular health screening checks.