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Most Filipinos face healthcare gaps – AIA study

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By Chino S. Leyco

Most Filipinos are facing a considerable “financing gap” where savings, current levels of insurance and government health provisions may not be enough to pay for the treatment for critical illnesses, research by the Hong Kong-based AIA Group (AIA) revealed.

According to AIA Healthy Living Index Survey, 86 percent of Filipinos were concerned about the potential costs of critical illness, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes or other serious conditions.

But when asked to estimate the cost of treatment for cancer, 81 percent of the respondents answered that the cost would have serious financial implications for them, said the study commissioned by Philam Life’s parent firm.

For cancer treatment, respondents expect an average shortfall of 75 percent of the costs they would have to bear. Across all respondents in the Philippines, the financing gap for heart disease is 67 percent and for diabetes 55 percent of direct costs.

When asked how they will pay for the treatment of critical illness given the financing gap, 78 percent cited the government while 56 percent said charities or trust.

Only 27 percent said this will be covered by their own personal savings and even lower at 19 percent, by an insurance plan.

Overall, the Philippines’ Healthy Living Index (Index) ranking went up by five points, from 61 to 66, the highest increase among all the AIA markets where the study was conducted.

Meanwhile, Filipinos are intending to improve their health and wellness, but are having a hard time sustain the healthy habits.

The study showed that only 46 percent of those who have ever tried a diet program continue to use one now, while only 47 percent of those who have ever joined a gym or fitness class have gone to one in the past four weeks.

Leo Tan, Philam Life chief marketing officer said the two key findings from the Healthy Living Index confirm that the Philippines is on the right track: The financing gap for critical illness and the motivation for healthy behavior.

“With the recent launch of Active Joint Critical Protect, our groundbreaking insurance product for two that addresses health and protection concerns, we are clearly filling a need among our customers,” Tan said.

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