Elderly Care Insurance for Seniors Spotlight on Disease

Guide to Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis Costs and Health Insurance

byAngelina Foong
  • Jul 09, 2024
  • 1 mins
rheumatoid arthritis

For people who have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic inflammatory disorder that primarily affects joints, the financial implications of coping with this condition can be significant aside from managing the physical pain. We aim to explore surgery costs, general RA-related expenses, and health insurance options to help you navigate this journey.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that causes joint inflammation, leading to pain, swelling, and stiffness. Common symptoms include joint pain, fatigue, and fever, and the condition is typically diagnosed through physical exams, blood tests, and imaging studies.

The average costs associated with RA can be substantial. Regular doctor visits, ongoing treatments, and medications all contribute to the financial burden. For instance, medications such as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologics can be expensive, often necessitating continuous usage for effective management of the disease.

Additionally, regular consultations with rheumatologists and other healthcare providers add to the overall cost. Over the long term, living with RA can significantly impact an individual’s finances, making it essential to plan and manage these costs effectively.

For some patients with rheumatoid arthritis, surgery becomes a necessary option to improve their quality of life. This typically occurs when they have significant joint damage that impairs daily activities and mobility, or their pain from rheumatoid arthritis is severe and persistent, and cannot be managed with medications or other non-surgical treatments.

Common surgeries for RA in Singapore include joint replacement and synovectomy, which aim to relieve pain and restore function in severely affected joints. Generally, the costs associated with rheumatoid arthritis surgeries encompass various stages:

Pre-Surgery Consultations

The costs of initial consultations and diagnostic tests for rheumatoid arthritis can accumulate before the surgery. These consultations typically range from S$150 to S$300 per visit, depending on the specialist.


The surgery cost for rheumatoid arthritis itself can be expensive, depending on the complexity and the healthcare facility. For instance, there is a difference in cost between a joint replacement surgery and a synovectomy:

  • Joint Replacement or Knee Replacement Surgery: The cost of these replacement surgeries in Singapore can vary significantly depending on the complexity of the procedure and the healthcare facility. It typically costs between S$19,000 to S$32,000 in private hospitals and S$16,000 to S$22,000 in public hospitals​.
  • Synovectomy: This involves the removal of inflamed joint tissue and tends to be less expensive than joint replacement but is still significant. The typical costs range from S$10,000 to S$15,000.

Post-Surgery Care and Rehabilitation

After surgery for rheumatoid arthritis has been completed, patients require follow-up visits, physical therapy, and possibly additional medications, all contributing to the total cost.

Rehabilitation sessions may cost around S$100 to S$200 per session, and multiple sessions may be needed. To manage and plan for the expenses mentioned above, it is advisable to :

  • Discuss the necessity and timing of the surgery with your healthcare provider.
  • Explore different hospitals and surgical centres for cost comparisons.
  • Check with your health insurance provider to understand what portion of the costs will be covered​.
getting health insurance

Choosing the right health insurance plan is crucial for managing rheumatoid arthritis treatment costs effectively. Here are key factors to consider when selecting a matching health insurance plan:

  • Specialist Care: Look for plans that cover visits to specialists such as rheumatologists.
  • Surgery Coverage: Verify if the plan includes coverage for RA-related surgeries and post-operative care.

When comparing different types of health insurance plans, it’s best to consider the following:

  • Personal Health Insurance Plans: These plans can be tailored to cover specific needs, but may come with higher premiums.
  • Group Health Insurance Plans: Often offered by employers, these plans may provide broader coverage at a lower cost.
  • MediShield Life and Integrated Shield Plans: In Singapore, your MediShield Life plan provides basic health insurance coverage, while Integrated Shield Plans offer additional private insurance coverage for higher-class wards and private hospitals.
  • Long-Term Disability Insurance Plans: While not directly covering medical expenses, long-term disability insurance can provide financial support if RA significantly affects your ability to work. This can be helpful for covering essential bills and living costs while managing your condition.

Aside from the suggestions above, specific coverage details to look for include medication coverage limits, specialist consultation limits, and whether surgery and rehabilitation costs are included. For those living with rheumatoid arthritis, selecting a plan that comprehensively covers these areas is vital.

Even with comprehensive health insurance for rheumatoid arthritis, out-of-pocket expenses can add up. Do explore financial assistance programmes that offer financial aid for chronic disease management. You can also consider approaching rheumatoid arthritis patient communities that share experiences and information about managing costs, helping you to stay on top of your financial situation.

managing costs of rheumatoid arthritis

No matter if you or your loved ones are experiencing this issue, understanding the financial implications of rheumatoid arthritis is crucial for effective management and long-term well-being.

As such, it’s important to consider comprehensive personal health insurance plans that cover a wide range of medical or surgery costs. These plans can assist you in easing the financial burden, especially for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Here at Income Insurance, we offer Enhanced IncomeShield, which works alongside your existing MediShield Life coverage for even greater protection:

  • Increase your policy's yearly claimable amount from $150,000 (with MediShield Life) to up to $1,500,000.
  • Upgrade your ward entitlement up to a private hospital with Enhanced IncomeShield Preferred.
  • Pay for premiums using MediSave, up to the Additional Withdrawal Limits (per insured person per year).

For those who have concerns about the interventions for RA, Enhanced IncomeShield provides several benefits for managing health expenses:

  • Reimburse pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses1,2 incurred for eligible medical treatments up to 100 days before and after hospitalisation.
  • Reimburses for emergency inpatient hospital treatment expenses1 while overseas.
  • Additional benefits when you seek treatment from a panel3 of trusted medical specialists, practitioners, and preferred partners3 for your medical care.

Living with rheumatoid arthritis can present unforeseen costs, but by having health insurance like Enhanced IncomeShield which provides comprehensive coverage, you can receive the necessary support while keeping your financial well-being in check.

Angelina is a writer with a passion for exploring diverse subjects and perspectives. She believes that curiosity is the best muse and believes in the power of clear, engaging communication to bridge gaps and illuminate complex ideas. Her experience in the medical field has shaped her commitment to crafting impactful content across a range of industries, from medical and wellness to logistics and finance.

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