Do We Need a Health or Medical Insurance in the Philippines?

I experienced how hard it was not to have medical insurance when I lost mine and consequently the one intended for my new born son as well. When my son was born, I was just about to lose the job that I had for six years. And with it, I also lost my employer-based health insurance benefit. 

Had my employment not ended that time, my son would have been automatically eligible for a medical insurance benefit upon his birth and any congenital disease he might have would have been covered. I was not thinking along these lines that time because I didn’t expect anything to go wrong. But something did go wrong.

Long Story Short
My son was born with a congenital problem called Hirschsprung's disease. It’s a condition where certain nerve fibers are absent on the colon which results to constipation. It was a problem that cannot wait to be resolved because his life was at stake. It was unfortunate that it happened to my son but it’s something I had no control over. 

I did have control over the decision that needs to be made to correct it. We immediately prepared him for an operation. The doctor told us that he may need one or two operations depending on his condition. I prayed for a single operation but he ended up needing two. The first one was done 4 days after his birth and the second one 5 months later.

During those times, I saw how fragile he was and how he went through the ordeal of two surgeries. I was overcome with concern about him that I hardly thought about the money that I was spending to make him better.

Hindsight is 20-20
It’s only now that I can look back and realize that we were financially set back substantially because of what happened. It was an experience that taught me about how things can happen that you would not expect to happen. And with that in mind, it was better to always be prepared as much as possible. 

I am not saying that we should all buy medical insurance plans but it would be extremely helpful if we had one. Otherwise we need to make sure we have enough money in the bank to cover medical treatments. Some of us have employer-based medical insurance benefits but others do not. Sometimes the employer benefit is so small it may not be enough. 

Our Options and Decisions
Here in the Philippines, there are private companies that provide health care plans for individuals and families. It would be prudent to study each one and compare the cost versus the benefits they offer. There is also a government-run national health insurance program called the PhilHealth. It can cover only around 15% to 20% of the medical cost but it helps.

A lot of Filipinos have grown fond of the slogan “bawal magkasakit” which means getting sick is not allowed. That’s because getting sick could mean a lot of unaffordable expenses. But we all know we can’t possibly just will it to happen. Most of the time, it’s beyond our control. It’s something we don’t want to happen to us but should ready ourselves for in case the unthinkable happens.