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Does Your Medical Insurance Cover Chronic Back Pain Treatment?

The easiest answer to that is: it depends. In the UK, for instance, most chronic illnesses are automatically excluded from insurance policies because of their very nature: they’re chronic, which means treatment is a recurring expense. In Malaysia, it’s more of the opposite, though each insurance provider may have its own policies regarding different illnesses.

CT Scan - Does Your Medical Insurance Cover Chronic Back Pain Treatment?
Image: Phillip Jeffrey on Flickr

You would want to make sure you have medical insurance for chronic back pain treatment, but how exactly do you do that?

Medical Insurance and Chronic Illnesses

“Chronic” is an ambiguous term used for diseases of varying degrees and stages. For example, while “chronic” migraine may refer to the simple recurrence of headaches, cancer is also a chronic condition with more grave implications.

What’s common between all “chronic” diseases is that there are no known cures for them, which translates to continuous treatment, which in turn means continuous expenses. This is why many insurers might not want to cover chronic illnesses. Luckily, most benign chronic illnesses are included in many Malaysian insurance providers’ coverage. The key is finding out whether they cover your specific case of back pain or otherwise.

Why Back Pain is Chronic

According to the World Health Organization, among the most prevalent musculoskeletal conditions, lower back pain is the most common. It will affect nearly everyone at some point, particularly in old age. Four to 33% of the global population experience back pain at any given point. This makes medical insurance for chronic back pain treatment very convenient, since statistically, you’ll eventually develop the same symptoms sooner or later.

While doctors don’t really know what causes back pain, there are some typical causes, including:

  • Aging
  • Injury
  • Arthritis
  • Inborn spine problem
  • Overuse
  • Strain

Regardless of the cause, the same symptoms and treatments apply. More serious chronic illnesses will need to be reviewed by most Malaysian insurers, while the typical aches and pains are normally covered. As many causes of back pain are relatively benign, you’ll probably have it easy applying for insurance coverage.

Chronic Illness Coverage Options

While there is no specific medical insurance for chronic back pain treatment, many insurance policies would either include said condition in their coverage if it’s pre-existing, or allow you to avail of a type of cover that would address it when it develops.

You can usually choose from three types of coverage:

–        Acute phase only: This type of coverage deals with “flare-ups,” or the symptoms of an acute outbreak. Any treatment needed for illnesses included in the policy will be covered. However, coverage applies only to specific types of ailments. You’ll need to talk with your insurance provider to ensure your specific chronic illness is included in the coverage.

–        Lifetime limit: Unlike the acute phase only type of coverage where specific pre-existing illnesses may be covered, this type covers the eventuality of a chronic disease. A part of your insurance premiums is set aside for funding the treatment of any chronic ailments that could afflict you in the future. The funding, however, is limited to how much is actually set aside—once that amount is used up, you’ll have to pay out of your own pocket.

–        Annual limit: The annual limit is similar to the lifetime limit with one difference: the limitation applies annually, and can be renewed every year.

Always ask your advisor, medical professional, or provider about how your medical insurance will cover your chronic back pain. You should do this not only to ensure your provider indeed covers chronic back pain, but also to be certain that you’re availing of the best coverage policy that exists for your specific situation.

Author’s box

Ian G. Elbanbuena is a blogger and infopreneur who writes on various topics mainly finance, self-improvement, business and marketing. At present he works on behalf of Compare Hero, the country’s leading comparison website. This portal helps individuals in getting the best rates of medical insurance in Malaysia.

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