How to be Financially Prepared for Critical Illness

Health often takes the back burner when people feel generally well or when they are too busy to pay attention. It’s when sickness comes swooping down that they realize the importance of being prepared for health emergencies and critical illness.

By Marife Remo

Medical emergencies are unpredictable, that is why being financially prepared is a must. 

For those employed in the Philippines, you are usually provided with a health maintenance organization (HMO) plan and are eligible for financial assistance from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and various other government systems. This basic financial cushion will suffice for minor medical events in your life. 

However, serious conditions that require long-term treatments can eat up all the support money and may even force you to dip into your own savings. Taking prolonged periods off work can also affect your income generating activities.       

How can you equip yourself with the right resources that can help you get through a critical illness? Read on for some suggestions on how to fortify your own health protection plan.   
Create an Emergency Fund
Life threatening conditions can strike any one at any age. The World Health Organization lists ischemic heart disease and stroke as the world’s leading causes of death for the past 15 years. Acute heart attack can set you back about less than P1 million. Medical treatments, in any case, are quite hefty and soaring with the passage of time. With that in mind, the time to start the financial preparations is now. Setting up a rainy day fund dedicated to unexpected life events such as sickness helps to alleviate anxieties for you and your family’s future. Have it handy through a well-maintained savings account.        

Cut Expenses, Boost Savings
Setting aside more for your overall savings helps to fill up that emergency fund. Do you really need that second trip to Japan this year? Getting rid of seemingly unnecessary spending helps you see things clearly and prioritize. The best time to spend on health is when you don’t need it. Did you know that even non-smokers can have lung cancer? The disease comes in second among the top causes of death in the country. Its treatment alone can cost an individual up to P2.78 million back in 2018. Just imagine how much more the treatments can cost a few years from now. Rainy day savings can’t guarantee total wellness but it can sure give you a better grip in times of sickness. 

Make the Most Out of Your Benefits
The resources that you have, no matter how meager they seem to be, can be of invaluable help in times of need. Your company’s insurance coverage normally includes consultation and medical procedures—depending on the policy. PhilHealth has the Z benefits package, which caters to eligible members afflicted with medically catastrophic diseases like breast cancer. Other government institutions such as the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) provide medical assistance to qualified individuals.     

Get a Critical Illness Life Insurance Plan  
Becoming financially prepared early on will give you peace of mind and the motivation to pursue your dreams worry-free. FWD's Set for Health financially protects you against the rising cost of healthcare, especially for critical illnesses, be it major or minor. We’ve all heard stories of friends or family members who have suffered a serious illness. What we don’t hear is how the financial strain may also have made a major impact during this trying time. Treatment and recovery require a huge financial support, for which a critical illness life insurance plan is a viable solution. 
Also, Set for Health's benefits are not just limited to health care. It has a rewarding component that gives you the benefits for living a healthy life until age 75. It is exciting to know that life insurance is no longer only for the benefit of heirs or those who will eventually be left behind. It is now a solid tool that can help an individual in addressing his financial needs be it for healthcare or expense protection.

In life, it is better to be always equipped with Plan Bs or emergency options when things go awry. Prevention is indeed better than cure, but preparation (of the financial kind) can be a more realistic approach to life’s uncertainties.   

Marife is a freelance writer/copywriter specializing in advertising and marketing. But really, just tell her what you need and she’ll try her very best to come up with something interesting. She is a mom and wife 24/7, a Netflix junkie, meme lover, and a cat person who does not own a cat