Asia Pacific outlook

HIDDEN AGENDA (The Philippine Star) - January 30, 2016 - 9:00am

Asia-Pacific investors remain confident, with half of them expecting to increase their portfolios this year, mostly by using debt.

Identifying the different trends that will shape real estate investment in the Asia-Pacific region, Colliers International in its Global Investor Outlook 2016 report said Australia and Japan are the preferred destinations for global investors in AsPac, with the key investment locations being Tokyo, Sydney, and Melbourne.

The report noted that the lower cost of debt would be a main driver of investment activity in the region. Meanwhile, central business district offices would be the preferred investment sector for AsPac investors, followed by development opportunities and industrial and logistics.

It said 2016 would see more motivated sellers which would create more varied opportunities for investment.

Colliers said the region as a whole continues to experience solid economic growth despite some economic concerns in China and Australia.

As a destination for offshore capital, the report explained that the growth potential of the regions continues to be an attraction. The share of overseas investors looking at the region in the next 12 months is similar to last year, it added.

Also according to the survey, 91 percent of Asia-based real estate investors intend to invest in the Asia-Pacific region this year.

The report mentions Japan, Australia, Hongkong, China, Singapore, South Korea, India, New Zealand, and Taiwan as the top target countries for investment in the region.

Hmo group speaks out

“Reference is your article in the Jan. 6,  issue of The Philippine Star (on Health Benefit) on House Bill 6348 entitled ‘Anti-Healthcare Age Discrimination Act’ by Rep. Roman Romulo. We truly appreciate your article as it accurately presents both sides of  the issue and from the perspective of our senior citizens and that of our HMOs. Allow us to reiterate a few more points.

“Most health maintenance organizations (HMOs) would likely have only one or two major products in the marketplace – the traditional ‘Individual’ or ‘Family’ plan; and the traditional ‘corporate’ plan (or a variation thereof under an ‘Administrative Services Only’ or ASO program). Some HMOs do not have individual plans and only cater to corporate accounts.  However, others offer a variety of products for different target markets.

“Many factors are taken into consideration by HMOs in pricing their  products or services, e.g., the prevailing medical costs in the industry, the attained age of an individual applicant or the median age for a corporate account, risk assumptions on existing health profile/s of the individual or group, occupational or environmental hazards of the applicants, industry classification they belong to, past history of program utilization (for renewing accounts), medical or lay underwriting results, if any, marketing and selling expenses, if any, competition in the marketplace, the company’s administrative loading, the many benefits of the program including latest modalities of treatment, tailor-fitted benefit inclusions per client requests, medical network including specialists, point-of-service privileges, etc. All these are taken into consideration in order to price correctly the risks involved and the cost of doing business with a particular client.

“Admittedly only a very few HMOs have taken the risk on geriatric care plans for senior citizens as a target HMO market primarily on account of the fact that geriatric care encompasses a more holistic approach to cope with aging and its effects, not to mention the onset of the inevitable failing of mental and physical health – health risk conditions some HMOs may not be organized to assume nor prepared to undertake. Just like any business organization, HMOs package their products and services according to their capacity to assume risks based on their risk-based capitalization, not to mention expertise and technical know-how in service delivery. To be forced to provide healthcare packages to a market it is not prepared to undertake would be against their rights as corporate citizen of the Philippines, not to mention the possibility of a failed business venture that will not only affect the ‘seniors’ amongst their planholders, but all their planholders in general, not to mention leaving a lot of unpaid bills with affiliated hospitals and accredited doctors in case of their closure.

“We fully agree with you that HMOs should not discriminate against senior citizens especially in the light of increased  benefits  for  our senior citizens – in particular, in the area of healthcare. But let it be the decision of the HMOs concerned to offer plans for senior citizens and if ever they do, at a price equitable to both parties.” – Carlos D. Da Silva, executive director, Association of Health Maintenance Organizations of the Philippines, Inc.

For comments, e-mail at philstarhiddenagenda@yahoo.com

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