EL IWD 2020

Closing Gaps for Women With International Health Care

The 8th of March was International Women’s Day and we are all about supporting the ladies here at Expat Insurance Singapore. We are a unicorn in the industry being female-founded and we’ve had two CEOs; both women. The campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2020 is Each for Equal; an equal world is an enabled world. This year we would like to have a look at how we as a health insurance broker can shine the spotlight on gaps that exist for women in accessing healthcare. By doing this, we hope that we can address these topics that need more attention for women and help with providing cover in these vulnerable areas.

Closing Gender Gaps in Coronary Disease with Expat Health Care

Coronary heart disease is an area of health where studies – like The British Heart Foundation’s ‘Biology and Bias’– have recognized that gender inequality has an impact on deaths caused by heart disease. This is partly due to a lack of awareness. Diagnosis and treatment is not as common as it is generally seen as something that afflicts men more than it does women. The Biology and Bias study found that:

  • women are less likely to recognise symptoms of a heart attack than men
  • a woman is 50% more likely than a man to receive the wrong diagnosis
  • women are less likely than men to receive life-saving treatments
  • women are less likely to be given medicine to stop a second heart attack

Awareness and learning to spot the symptoms of heart attacks in women are key to early detection and prevention. The British Heart Foundation advises women to look out for:

  • chest pain or discomfort that happens suddenly and persists
  • pain can then spread to the left or right arm or to the neck, jaw, back or stomach
  • sickness, sweating, light-headedness or shortness of breath
  • sudden anxiety similar to that of a panic attack
  • excessive coughing or wheezing

Having regular health screenings with your GP is a great way to stay ahead of the game when it comes to your coronary health, and here is a piece that we wrote about how you can better care for your  heart. Check with the Expat Insurance Singapore team to see what’s covered when it comes to regular screenings and your heart health.

Addressing Women’s Mental Health in Expat Health Care Plans

Jean Hailes for Women’s Health is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving women’s health based in Australia. Each year they conduct a survey of over 10, 000 women and publish the result in an annual paper. The survey’s chief investigator said that the results “underscore the pressure that women … face as they juggle work, young children, as well as ageing parents and other social demands.”

Some of the key findings include:

  • more than a third of women who responded to the survey said they have had depression (34.6%) or anxiety (39.4%)
  • 42% of women reported feeling nervous, anxious or on edge nearly every day or at least weekly in the past four weeks
  • women aged between 18-35 reported the highest levels of anxiety, with 64.1% feeling nervous, anxious or on edge nearly every day or at least weekly in the past four weeks
  • women aged 18-35 are the loneliest. Almost 40% reported feelings of loneliness every week
  • more than 50% of women aged 36-65 perceive themselves as overweight or obese.

This suggests that a large portion of women – almost half – experience sustained feelings anxiety. When this continues for over 6 months, it is termed as an anxiety disorder. In this earlier piece,  we have observed that the rates of anxiety are going up due to awareness, but the fact that 42% per cent of women feel this way is significant.

Fortunately, there seems to be a trend of healthcare providers being proactive in offering wellness benefits that help to reduce anxiety and in the last 12 months, there are more policies in the market that allow their members to access a variety of interventions when it comes to mental health.

If you are an employer providing benefits for your staff, take note of some of these areas that we have highlighted where women can be vulnerable. Let our team know that you are looking out for your female employees and they will provide some group plans to take care of your ladies.

Please let us know if you would like any help with choosing some policies that offer more support in these areas, and give our team a call today.

If you would like to learn more about the information in this piece, here are some links below to that you can access.

But most importantly, use this International Women’s Day to celebrate women, to call out gender bias and help each other achieve equality for women everywhere! Happy IWD 2020!

Helpful Links:

International Women’s Day 2020 Official Website
Biology and Bias Study
Jean Hailes for Women’s Health 2019 Study Results Summary
Jean Hailes for Women’s Health Survey 2019 Full Report