An OFW asks, 'Should I buy my health insurance now for my retirement in the Philippines 10 years from now?'
RAISING CHILDREN WITH HIGH FQ - Rose Fres Fausto (Philstar.com) - May 1, 2019 - 12:00am

Question:

Hi Miss Rose! I wish to check your thoughts on this po. OFW po ako in Singapore. Maganda ang health insurance coverage namin dito pero gusto naming maghanda para sa aming retirement sa Pinas probably in 10 years. Naisip naming kumuha na kami ng insurance kahit na overseas pa. Kaya lang parang walang health insurance product sa Pinas na suitable sa OFW. Any suggestions po? Mag-iipon na lang po ba kami at bibili na lang ng health insurance paguwi namin sa Pinas? Ang downside po kasi e baka may pre-existing conditions na by that time. Looking forward to your inputs po. Thanks and God bless.

Answer:

Hi Resie. I’m glad to hear that you currently have a good health insurance coverage in Singapore. I also admire your proactive attitude about your retirement and a good retirement definitely includes your health matters taken care of.

It is common to hear unsuspecting clients being pushed to buy packages early on so they could purchase at a lower cost – the younger the cheaper, the earlier while there are no pre-existing conditions, the cheaper. I do not have any argument about those claims per se. However, my concern is that we should not be lured into buying just because it’s cheaper, because sometimes we might not even need it yet. What do I mean?

I cringe when I hear stories of hard-earned money being used to buy, let’s say, life insurance for minors who don’t have any dependents anyway. Yes, buying them life insurance now allows you to get it at a cheaper cost, BUT hey, zero is definitely cheaper than any other price! Your minors don’t need life insurance. They don’t have dependents. Life insurance is there to replace the income of the breadwinner. If you want to buy your children financial packages right now, get them pure investment products.

That being said, let’s go to the matter of you buying your health insurance to cover for your health needs 10 years from now when you retire in the Philippines. If I understood you correctly, you’re thinking of buying it now in order to buy it at a cheaper price, while you still don’t have pre-existing conditions of illness. I think this is comparable to what I narrated above, “Zero is cheaper than any price!” You don’t need to buy health insurance now because, as you said, you currently have a good health insurance coverage.

Here are some of the things that you can do right now:

1. If you have spare cash now to set aside for your health matters upon retirement, invest them long-term. Ten years is comfortable period for equity index funds to grow that can eventually help augment your budget for health-related expenses upon retirement. I suggest you automate it to make sure that you’re setting aside that amount. Pangalan mo! smiley Name that fund so that it is more salient to you what it’s supposed to be used for, helping ward off the temptation to spend it on other matters that are not necessary. (Of course, money is fungible, and if there would be financial needs that are just as important, then please go ahead and use it. In fact, this is can be viewed as an advantage. The operative term “just as important.”)

2. Talk to an agent who can also give you the options for you to buy once you retire in the Philippines. How old will you be? What kind of coverage do you need? You may wish to check with Insular Life for their female-centric packages. But remember to understand the details including all the conditions upon which you can make your claims so that you know what you’re buying.

3. Ask your existing insurer there in Singapore if there is anything that they can offer you once you retire. Is your existing health insurance covered by your employer? Check the costs and benefits of continuing your insurance with them. If you’re retiring before the age of 65, it’s highly probable you can’t be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. See how the costs and benefits compare with what you can buy here in the Philippines.

4. Another option is to take a look at critical illness insurance plans both in the Philippines and in your host country. Study your family health history so you know what your old age illnesses are likely to be. I mention this because I’m assessing that you are the type of OFW who may already be setting aside for your retirement needs. So, for small health-related expenses in the future, you may be capable of shouldering them yourself and be free to see your preferred doctors at your preferred clinics or hospitals, whether they’re accredited by insurance companies or not. But it will be in the high cost critical illnesses that you may need help with. There is a way to decrease the premium cost of this coverage – buy a plan wherein you cover the first chunk of the expense, let’s say, the first P500,000 or million or whatever strike price you want to have, and the insurer just covers whatever is in excess. The insurer can sell this type of insurance at a lower price because the likelihood of it happening is lower. At the same time, you are able to hedge against astronomical costs of future illnesses.

5. All the above need some pencil-pushing in order to arrive at the best option for you given your age, family health history, current cashflow capability, and your dream retirement life.

I wish the discussions help you and our readers. Old age is not always a pleasant thing to discuss because it always includes illnesses, uncertainties, etc. but we all need to confront this reality. Indeed, we have to always pair our YOLO (You Only Live Once) with YAGO (You Also Grow Old)!

Cheers to high FQ and growing old prepared!

*********************************

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Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books "Raising Pinoy Boys" and "The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom. She is a behavioral economist, a certified Gallup strengths coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook&YouTube as FQ Mom, and Twitter&Instagram as theFQMom. Her latest book is "FQ: The nth Intelligence."

ATTRIBUTIONS: Photos from upwardsleader.com, CIO.com, and moneysense.ca modified and used to help deliver the message of the article.

FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE QUOTIENT FQ INSURANCE PERSONAL FINANCE RETIREMENT YAGO YOLO
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