Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Cost of Getting Sick

By: Benedict F. Baluyut, RMT, RFP, REB

From: Freedigitalphotos.net
“BAWAL MAGKASAKIT (DON’T GET SICK)” - This is a popularized  Filipino tagline or slogan I remember from the old TV commercials and print advertisements that were used by ad agency for a top multinational pharmaceutical company a few years ago. It speaks direct to the consumers of this product and did bring attention to the viewing public or target consumers of this popular multivitamin food supplements.

With the rapid advances and changes in Medicine and Allied Healthcare, Life expectancy has tremendously improved with people living to 100 years or more around the world and Filipinos on average have a life expectancy estimated at 71.94 years for both male and female elderly population.      

Healthcare Costs are Rising

In a 2011 study conducted by the World Health Organization, stated that almost 250,000 Filipinos families are struggling financially in terms of paying for medical treatments and health services plus the inaccessibility of health care due to high cost of this affects the people’s livelihood. Current Inflation also played an integral part in the financial hardships at an average of 4% to 5% level and so healthcare costs continue to rise. For them, paying for these services are burdensome as it ruins the financial capabilities with more debt piling up could lead to bankruptcy. The Republic Act 9502 or "Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008 have been placed in order to grant access to essential medicines especially for the Filipinos and the poor folks but it was not properly implemented.

Out-of-Pocket Expenditure (OOP) on Health

What is Out of Pocket Expenditure? – Its definition direct outlays of households, including gratuities and in-kind payments made to health practitioners and to suppliers of pharmaceuticals, therapeutic appliances and other goods and services. This includes household direct payments to public and private providers of health care services, non-profit institutions, and non-reimbursable cost sharing, such as deductibles, copayments and fees for services.

Based on the 2006 National Statistics Coordination Board (NCSB) and World Health Organization (WHO) – Philippine Health System Review report on Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES), an average Filipino household spend about P 4,000.00 annually on medical care based alone. The trend on the Out of Pocket Expenditures has a dramatically increase over the recent years despite the expansion social insurance by the government. Comparing from data from FIES (Medical Care) of 2003 at 2.2 % to 2006 at 2.9% it show an increase at 0.7%. However, in the recent FIES 2009 data showed that it had peaked at 3.8% on the total expenditure on medical care alone. 

In the recent data provided by the World Bank, the Philippines have increased at an average from of 83.4% from 2008, 83.6% from 2009 and remain stable to 83.6% from 2010 on their view personal medical care expense.     

Why Should the Average Filipino Focus and Invest on Prevention?

Filipinos regard health as wealth - People who tend to get ill often times are more likely not to be working and have lower incomes. It is apparent that the difference a health person against a sickly person is significant. Back up plans in case of emergency is needed in immediate cases if the time arises.

Health care utilization is important for common folks by covering themselves with the basic health plan from our very own social health insurance provided by Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC or PhilHealth). Although the premium contribution increased effective Jan. 1, 2013, the cost ranges of P 2,520 annually (P 210 a month) for employed members, for self-employed or voluntary individual-members premiums are at P 1,800 or P 150 a month while Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) will still enjoy the old premium at P 1,200 annually or P 100 a month. Recently PhilHealth launched and expanded its coverage to include catastrophic illnesses such as the “Z package for Acute Lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), breast and prostate cancer” that requires prolonged hospitalization and very expensive treatment for these illnesses. The agency also expanded its program for patients afflicted with HIV/AIDS known as Outpatient HIV/AIDS Treatment (OHAT) Program back in 2010.      
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) is an organization that provides or arranges managed care for health insurance. It is a pre-paid healthcare delivery services that provides comprehensive health care packages from outpatient treatment and consultation from a member physician to preventive health care programs and hospitalization if it is necessary for active and enrolled members. Most employers give these types of benefits to their employees. Each HMO member is assigned a primary physician who coordinates all the care for the patient, including referrals to specialists. Enrollment or subscription fee for these services is variable depending on the HMO Service providers. Filipinos prefer HMOs than health insurance because of the affordable packages offered.

Health Insurance or Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) is an enrollment based medical agreement with an insurer or a third-party administrator to provide medical care at reduced rates to the insurer's or administrator's clients.  PPOs do not require Primary Care Physician (PCP) or a referral from other medical specialist wherein they give more options to choose on their medical practitioner. However, they have to spend more for their care.  A plan holder must shell out of their pockets before the policy begins to make payments.  In addition, to lower out of pocket spending, a plan holder can use the PPO’s network providers.

Why you need a Preventive Lifestyle

Empowering yourself with the practice of preventative health care and lifestyle and live your life fully with this three tips:

Nutrition – Eating the right and well balance meal daily is essential for anyone to wants to be physically fit. Eating more on fiber rich fruits and vegetable to cutting back on sugars and processed food could be beneficial for your well being.

Exercise – Doing basic household chore, going to the park for a run or a walk or visiting a gym could benefit you a lot from improving mood, boost energy, improve immune response against illnesses, weigh control and it is also fun. Better to sweat it out.

Lifestyle habit – Changing your lifestyle by quitting smoking, lessening alcohol intake and lessening stressful related activities could give boost your longevity longer.

Health emergencies can happen anytime this in turn could unexpected expenses. There are times that we cannot foresee our health and tend to forget to care for the little things especially if our physical well-being is at stake from the rigors of daily life and busy activities we do. No amount of cure is better than prevention.

Published in Business Mirror: March 4, 2012

The Cost of Getting Sick (Part 1)

CRB Benedict Baluyut, is a certified real estate professional (Real Estate Broker) a regular member of Registered Financial Planner - Philippines. He writes from time to time with Registered Financial Planner Column at Business Mirror. Catch his Facebook page Pinoymoneyvantage | Follow him at Twitter | Google + or visit his official blog at http://www.pinoymoneyvantage.net.

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Financial Services courses said...

Many persons in Philippines are thinking about the cost of getting sick. Like this blog says through financial services courses the number of services applied more the benifit you get. Remember from the old TV commercials and print advertisements that were used by ad agency for a top multinational pharmaceutical company a few years ago.Focus and Invest on Prevention.

B said...

Interesting articles