How to Cope with the Financial Burden of Critical Illness

Being prepared for any medical expenses may help ease your worries and allow you to focus on what matters most—your recovery

By Kaydee Dela Buena

coping with financial burden of critical illness
In this economy, getting sick is probably one of the most inconvenient things that could happen to you. Not only that, it can also be a pain in the pocket. Even with the simplest case of common cold or flu, you’re bound to shell out cash to buy medicine or have to opt on sick leave to recover. Sometimes you can’t help but to feel a twinge of regret, because your time and money could’ve been spent on more important things. 

It’s an entirely different story when you talk about more serious illnesses such as diabetes, stroke, heart attack, or cancer, among many others. Just the thought of you or any of your loved ones falling ill—and the astounding expenses that come with it—can strike fear and anxiety in anyone. Hospitalization and medical treatment, more often than not, doesn’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. 

According to a 2018 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. 

In 2015, it was recorded that the typical Filipino household generates an average annual income of Php267,000. With the continuous rise in healthcare costs, it becomes difficult to cope and manage a life-threatening condition. Ask yourself today: Am 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. And to think that this the average cost just for procedures done in a government hospital. Private medical institutions will require 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 a loss of income for an indefinite period of time. If you have a family to support, not only do you worry about the rising medical bills, but also daily living expenses such as rent, groceries, tuition fees, etc. It pays to have a life insurance to lessen your burden.

Critical care insurance

There’s no easy way to deal with critical illness. Both preventive and preparatory measures should be enacted to face even 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, because no one is safe from these diseases. 

First, 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 in 23 hospitals nationwide. 

If you’re employed, it’s better if your company offers coverage from HMO Philippines 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. 

Getting a life insurance can be overwhelming, but that easily becomes of second thought when you get to enjoy its many benefits. Critical care insurance provides a lump sum cash—up to the millions, depending on the coverage amount you want to get—to the insured upon diagnosis on specific health conditions outlined by the policy. 

The conditions vary depending on your age, medical history, and other factors. But they typically include coverage for cases like heart attack, Alzheimer’s disease, brain injury, cancer, and more. 

Do your research and find out which insurance companies in the Philippines offer the best health insurance with critical illness coverage, like FWD’s Set for Health. 

Set for Health is critical illness life insurance plan that covers you from major and minor critical illness and allows you to claim for up to three times for unrelated sickness. What’s more, if you’re diagnosed with a major critical illness, you stop paying. Your remaining premiums will be paid for by the company for you. So you can focus on getting better.