Results of the 2nd Philippine Wellness Index released yesterday showed that nearly half of Filipinos are unsure if they can pay for their hospitalization in case they get sick.
Michael Varcas
Many Pinoys can’t afford hospital bills – study
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - June 27, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Many Filipinos cannot afford to pay their hospital bills, according to a recent study.

Results of the 2nd Philippine Wellness Index released yesterday showed that nearly half of Filipinos are unsure if they can pay for their hospitalization in case they get sick.

The study, initiated by PhilCare, indicated that 40 percent of 1,350 respondents from various parts of the country expressed uncertainty on their capability to pay medical bills.

Thirty percent of the respondents were not sure if they could shoulder the cost of regular medical checkups.

Based on the study, 37 percent of the respondents had to use their savings while 25 percent sought the help of their relatives to pay their medical bills.

More than half or 63 percent of respondents paid their bills through the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and 15 percent from their personal health insurance.

PhilCare Wellness Index chief researcher Fernando Paragas said Filipinos lack the confidence to address their medical needs.

“We are at our weakest when it comes to medical and financial needs. This is where we need to improve,” Paragas stressed.

The same study indicated that many Filipinos generally feel “somewhat good” about their health and well-being.

“The respondents rated themselves to be in overall good health. They also believe that they enjoy the ideal weight, despite their bodies not being in tip-top shape,” Paragas said.

He said the respondents’ sentiment on their physical health is mirrored by their psychological disposition.

“Respondents, on average, agreed that they lead a meaningful life, they are well-respected and that they are satisfied with their lives,” Paragas said.

The wellness index data, Paragas said, could be a result of people thinking that they are well enough, thereby making medical and financial needs not that necessary.

Paragas said a separate study indicated that many Filipinos, especially the youth, want to travel to get away from stress and avoid illness.

“But, in truth, once they get sick, they do not have the money to pay for their medical bills because they have spent it for their travels,” he said.

Former health secretary and PhilCare Wellness Index chairman Enrique Ona said PhilHealth could evaluate and use the results of study for the implementation of the Universal Health Care law.

“We have findings in this study that may be very useful in the goal of the government to attain truly universal health care,” Ona said.

HOSPITAL BILLS PHILIPPINE HEALTH INSURANCE CORP.
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