Most Filipinos unable to meet medical costs of critical illnesses

Published by reposted only Date posted on November 25, 2015

MANILA, Philippines – Eighty-four percent of Filipinos are not financially prepared for medical costs in case they are diagnosed with critical illnesses, such as heart disease.

Heart disease is the number one killer in the Philippines. Throughout the years, more and more Filipinos succumb to heart-related illnesses due to a combination of factors including unhealthy diet, fast paced lifestyle and stressful environment.

With the rising costs of treatment for cardiovascular diseases especially heart surgeries, the time is ripe to adopt a healthier lifestyle and revisit one’s financial priorities.

Philippine Heart Center (PHC) head of the bypass surgery unit Dr. Avenilo Aventura Jr. said that once diagnosed with a heart ailment, patients often find themselves in a situation where they do not know where to get the money for the medical procedures and other prescription.

“Even if they have health cards, most of these do not cover open-heart surgeries, among other things. Their coverage is also rather miniscule compared to the cost required to treat critical illnesses,” Aventura, who is also a board member of the Philippine Association of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons Inc. (PATACSI), said.

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) also provides financial relief to patients and their families, but this is just for a small portion of the total medical expenses.

Normally, the cost of treatment for a heart surgery – that is, from diagnostic tests like ECG and 2D echo, to the bypass surgery in a hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) – will cost around P1 million.

While organizations like the Philippine Heart Foundation and PATACSI exist to help indigent heart patients through their medical missions, Aventura agrees that it is very important for people to prepare financially for serious illnesses.

The surgeon hopes to see more Filipinos prepare for health emergencies, as there is not much financial assistance available to them.

The Philippine American Life and General Insurance Co. (Philam Life) has taken inspiration from these real life challenges to come up with product solutions that will provide financial protection for unforeseen events, especially health-related ones.

Health and life insurance plans like Philam Life’s Health Invest not only help planholders prepare for critical illnesses, but also help them build funds for future health emergencies.

In case a person is diagnosed with a critical illness, a lump-sum cash benefit will be given to help pay for medical bills or other expenses.

Health Invest grows a health fund overtime that can be used for future health care needs.

The plan also offers short pay (premium payments) periods of three, five, seven or 10 years.

Philam Life’s health insurance compliments the benefits given by health cards issued by health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and the government health insurance. – (The Philippine Star)

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