Our love for sweet indulgence such as Teh Tarik Kaw and Boba Milk Tea made us the country with the highest rate of diabetes in Asia and one of the highest in the world. It's not something we should be proud of, and to make things worse, it can be a hard to get diabetes insurance. We can't help with the first one, but we can help show you your options when it comes to diabetes friendly medical cards. And to do that, we introduce you our trusted partner, Marshall, who is an independent financial planner.

To make it easier for you, we've created a table of content:

Diabetes – What is it?

There are 2 types of Diabetes, or diabetes mellitus. In type 1 (Juvenile) diabetes, the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. In type 2 (Adult) diabetes, the pancreas is working fine, but due to lifestyle and diet, the pancreas sort of tires out, and stop making insulin altogether.

If type 2 diabetes is not managed by watching what we put into our mouth, it may lead to long term consequences such as kidney failure, diabetic coma and even death. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diabetes is one of the top 10 causes of death.

Insurance Underwriting for Diabetes

An insurance company will review several factors to determine if they are going to accept our application for coverage. This is known as the underwriting process, and insurance companies have the right to decline our application for coverage.

It is very important to disclose any pre-existing condition to the insurance company. A non-disclosure may potentially lead to claim rejection. That means even if you were to claim for something not related to diabetes, if the insurance company finds out that you did not disclose it when you originally applied for the insurance policy, the insurance company can potentially reject your current claim.

Diabetes Insurance

As a financial planner, I have come across clients with diabetes that fail to purchase medical cards due to their pre-existing condition. Some companies explicitly stated that diabetes is not covered.

Diabetes insurance - no coverage
Ironically, diabetes patients are prone to health complications such as kidney failure, blindness and amputation. So, is this the end for diabetes patients? Can a diabetic patient buy a medical card?

Fortunately, there’s hope. There are 3 companies that I came across which offers diabetes (Type 2) patients a second chance. These companies offer plans made specifically for diabetic patients so that they can get a medical card coverage.

Bear in mind that these plans are quite different from a normal medical card and it is best to get a licensed financial planner to assist you on which plan suits you best.

Diabetes Insurance Option 1: Allianz Diabetic Essential

Allianz is the first insurance company in Malaysia that offers medical card to diabetes patients. Allianz Diabetic Essential is a standalone medical card. A standalone medical card is a 100% protection plan, therefore, it does not have any savings/investment element within this plan.

There are 4 choices of medical plans that can help cover the cost of hospitalisation. Some other features of Allianz Diabetic Essential that stands out to me are as follows:

  • Health screening benefit: Allianz provides annual medical examination by a doctor for HbA1c blood test, kidney function test, lipid profile, and full urine examination.
  • Premium discount: depending on your medical report, you may receive up to 40% off on your premium. You will also be entitled to a 10% discount just by submitting your medical report.
  • Annual/lifetime limit: Among the 3 insurance companies, Allianz provide a relatively high annual and lifetime limit for the medical card.
    However, there are also some disadvantages of Allianz Diabetic Essential that you should know before purchasing this plan:
  • Co-insurance: This means, you will have to pay 20% of the Eligible Expenses, up to RM10,000 per annum.
  • Short expiry date: This plan expires when you attain 71 years old.

Diabetes Insurance Option 2: MSIG Gluco Safeguard Insurance

Just like Allianz Diabetic Essential, MSIG’s Gluco Safeguard Insurance is also a standalone medical card that is tailored for people with pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

Gluco Safeguard also gives you 4 choices to choose from. Here’s some feature that caught my attention:

  • Diabetes management app: You will have access to Health2Sync premium membership. It was selected as one of the best diabetes app of 2019 by Healthline Networks.
  • Premium discount: You may receive up to 40% off on your premium for achieving a lower HbA1c reading.
  • Entry discount: Just like premium discount, but you enjoy the discount immediately during enrolment.
  • Additional benefits: Benefits such as accidental outpatient alternative medical treatment, nutritional allowance and compassionate care allowance are included in this plan.
  • No co-insurance/deductible: Unlike the other 2 insurance, Gluco Safeguard has no co-insurance and deductible.

Here are the disadvantages of MSIG Gluco Safeguard Insurance plan:

  • Low annual/lifetime limit: MSIG Gluco Safeguard Insurance has the lowest annual and lifetime limit among the medical card offered by the 3 insurance companies.

Diabetes Insurance Option 3: PRUMy Diabetes Care

PRUMy Diabetes Care is the only medical card rider on this list to be attached to an Investment-linked policy. As an investment-linked product, you will have the flexibility to include coverage such as death, total and permanent disability and critical illness benefit. You may also opt for a premium waiver benefit.

Unlike the earlier 2 plans, you have no option to choose your Room & Board benefit. It is fixed at RM200 per night. Moreover, your HbA1c reading will determine your deductible (A deductible is the amount of money you will pay to the hospital before the coverage kicks in to cover the remaining fee).

The minimum deductible amount is RM20,000 if your HbA1c reading is 6% or below; If your reading is between 6% to 7%, the deductible is RM50,000.

However, if you are looking for a medical card that has no lifetime limit, PRUMy Diabetes Care is the only option.

Wrapping up

Options for medical card shrink significantly if one is diagnosed with diabetes. It is hard for me to choose which medical card is the best as 3 of these plans serve very different purposes. At times, I will advice my client to go for the “4th option”, i.e. to be self-insured with a structured saving strategy.

However, don’t feel discouraged. There are several precedents that insurance companies will accept an ex-diabetic patient’s application for a regular medical card if the health report turns out to improve overtime.

What’s more important is that you stay healthy and do not let anyone make you feel guilty for not having a medical card. Hire a fee-based licensed financial planner to assess your current risk portfolio.

Marshall holds both financial planning license from the Securities Commission of Malaysia and financial adviser representative licensed from Bank Negara Malaysia.