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Thursday, April 18, 2024

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Health is Wealth: Valuing health protection is now by being financially prepared for emergencies

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By Marinel Peroy

It’s not all the time we feel well even if we try to live a healthy lifestyle, because sickness may occur at unexpected times. But the sad part of getting sick, especially in the Philippines is the high cost of hospitalization and the lack of a healthcare system that subsidizes the cost of hospitalization and medicine.

While there is a Universal Health Care Act, the fact remains there is no fund to support the law, just akin to a car sans gasoline.

Mindful of this predicament, young Filipinos are becoming more conscious about their health span, or how long they will enjoy good health, according to the recent Manulife Asia Care Survey. While Filipinos surveyed, on average, expect to be healthy until approximately 62, younger millennials (born 1989 to 1996) anticipate that they will only be at the prime of their health until age 55.

The pandemic brought unprecedented changes, especially regarding one’s health and finances, so Filipino millennials and Gen Zs have become concerned about financial security. They realized that they needed to start investing in life and health protection, or find more ways to grow their money, especially in light of the following concerns:

  1. Their critical illness risk. Genetics, the environment, the stresses of modern living, and even binge-eating and endless feasts brought by the holidays, may conspire to put everyone at risk for various critical illnesses. Even Gen Z and millennials find that their relatively young age does not guarantee protection. For Filipinos, coronary heart diseases, tumors, and cerebrovascular conditions are the top health and mortality risks, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
  2. Their poverty risk. Medical treatments remain costly, and they can be challenging even for the otherwise comfortable middle class. This financial burden is a significant concern for many Filipinos, with almost half or 45% of the national health expense coming from out-of-pocket payments. At least 1.5 million Filipino families are pushed to the poverty line every year due to unexpected health expenses, according to the Insurance Commission.
  3. Weakened social safety nets due to economic uncertainties. Most Filipinos rely on health maintenance organization (HMO) plans and government-subsidized health insurance programs for their protection. However, with economic uncertainties causing medical inflation to soar to as high as 12-13%, Filipinos need more resources to cover the rising costs of hospital and medical treatments.

While they realize the importance of bolstering one’s health protection, some millennials and Gen Zs – many of whom are just starting their careers, shifting priorities, or changing life journeys – may feel held back by their limited income.

To address this gap and help make it easier for young Filipinos to boost their health and life protection, Manulife offers HealthFlex and FutureBoost.

HealthFlex, an innovative and flexible life and health insurance plan that protects against up to 112 critical illnesses and guarantees health coverage until age 100. Furthermore, if diagnosed with one of these covered critical illnesses, premiums are automatically waived, allowing them to focus on recovery instead of worrying about their medical bills. They can also customize their plans by adding coverage benefits for early-stage illnesses, second occurrences of cancer, heart attack, or stroke, and hospitalization and recovery assistance.

Meanwhile, FutureBoost is an all-in-one plan for life, savings, and health benefits that offers critical illness coverage of up to 10 times the plan’s face amount or as high as Php 15 million, and access to various investment funds where Filipinos may grow their money and boost their coverage anytime through various add-on benefits, such as hospital income benefit that can help them pay for hospital expenses while protecting their savings. With FutureBoost, young Filipinos can get early protection from critical illnesses, while they save and prepare for their life goals.

As more Filipinos seek insurance solutions but struggle with budget constraints, Manulife strives to find innovative ways to make insurance more accessible, enabling customers to personalize their health coverage while financially protecting themselves and those they love most.

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