Health and Wellbeing

How to cope with the financial burden of critical illness

Being prepared for medical expenses helps ease your worries and allows you to focus on what matters most—your recovery.

In this economy, getting sick is probably one of the most inconvenient and expensive things that can happen to you. Illnesses such as stroke, heart attack, or cancer, among many others, come with astounding expenses. Hospitalization and medical treatment don’t come cheap. If caught unprepared, medical expenses can wipe out your entire savings account. Worst case scenario: You’ll lose everything you’ve saved up. In a 2019 research by Philcare, it was revealed that 37% of Filipinos “max out their savings while 25% rely on their relatives to settle hospital bills.”

According to a report by World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health (DOH), Filipinos are prone to critical illnesses such as diabetes, stroke, heart attack, and cancer. This high risk is primarily caused by poor eating habits, lack of exercise, and high consumption of alcohol.

Even a simple case of the common cold or flu means you have to spend on medicines or have to take a sick leave to recover. This is time and money that could’ve been spent on more important things.

With the continuous rise in healthcare costs, it becomes difficult to cope and manage an illness or a life-threatening condition. Ask yourself today: Will I able to bear these financial obligations? If not, perhaps availing of a comprehensive insurance plan and adequate financial planning can help you better manage your future.

The cost of critical illness in the Philippines

Open heart surgeries in the country cost about PhP300,000 to PhP600,000 depending on the severity of the illness. Generally speaking, this average cost will just cover for procedures done in a government hospital because private medical institutions charge more. Treatments for cancer and chronic respiratory diseases are equally expensive, and often come with post-surgery care and rehabilitation charges.

Getting diagnosed also means being unfit to work, which consequently leads to loss of income for an indefinite period of time. If you have a family to support, not only do you worry about the medical bills, but also daily living expenses such as rent, groceries, tuition fees, etc. It surely pays to have a health protection to lessen the burden.

Critical illness care

There’s no easy way to deal with critical illness. Both preventive and preparatory measures should be enacted to face the worst-case scenarios. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is always a good way to start, but not enough. It’s still best to have a back-up plan so you can focus more on your health, wellness, and just in case—recovery.

It’s important to know the healthcare benefits you can get from the universal health coverage provided by our government like Philhealth. Philhealth offers the Z Benefit package, which provides assistance for critical health conditions such as cancer, but can only be availed of in 23 hospitals nationwide.

If you’re employed, it’s very helpful to have an HMO coverage provided by your employer as you can make use of basic services such as inpatient care, outpatient care, and emergency hospitalization. The benefits are not enough for long-term treatment though.

Health protection

Critical illness insurance provides a lump sum cash—up to the millions depending on the coverage amount you want to get—to the insured upon diagnosis of specific health conditions outlined in the policy. The conditions vary depending on your age, medical history, and other factors. But they typically include coverage for cases like heart attack, stroke, brain injury, cancer, and more.

FWD Life Insurance’s Set for Health, which covers you against major and minor critical illnesses and allows you to claim for up to three times for unrelated sickness is a plan worth looking into. What’s more, if you’re diagnosed with a major critical illness, you stop paying. Your remaining premiums will be paid for by FWD so you can focus on getting better.

FWD Vibrant, meanwhile, gives you complete protection from wellness to treatment to recovery with its benefits that include health screening, up to 6x claims for major critical illnesses, health supplement benefit, and minor critical illness benefit worth 20% of your total benefit amount.

On the other hand, FWD’s BIG 3 Critical Illness Insurance gives you cash benefit when you get diagnosed with any of the BIG 3 critical illnesses: cancer, heart attack, or stroke. You also get a one-year unlimited consultation with licensed general physicians and family doctors at Aventus Medical Inc. clinics nationwide.

Set an appointment with an FWD financial advisor to find out what plan suits you best.