The Most Common Problems When Looking for Senior Health Insurance Plans
May 3, 2019
Look for the best health insurance for senior citizens above 60 years old in the Philippines
Despite the efforts since the 1970s
to make improvements in health outcomes, the Philippines still lags behind many of its neighboring countries in terms of key health indicators. Although Filipinos may on a whole be living longer and healthier lives, indicators such as maternal mortality rate and incidents involving tuberculosis are still relatively high. The Philippine government also spends less on health in comparison to other Southeast Asian nations.
Besides these, new health challenges are emerging in the form of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes or hypertension. These diseases require different and holistic responses. While not impossible to solve, these are only a few of the many challenges facing the Philippines as it attempts to move towards universal access to quality and affordable healthcare.
Aside from providing mandatory Philhealth coverage for senior citizens, the health authorities in the Philippines are now focusing on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal
(SDG) 3: good health and well-being. Its aim is to achieve universal health coverage and ensure that the poorest Filipinos have access to affordable and effective health care.
Unfortunately, the high cost of health insurance plans is one of the main reasons why it's difficult for most Filipinos, especially the elderly, to apply for health care insurance.
Senior health care plays a big role in the older population as they are most likely to get sick because their immune system weakens over the years. Some of the health issues in the Philippines as well as in other countries that people between 50-80 years old should watch out for are pneumonia, cough, colds, influenza, cataract, kidney/bladder problems, and diabetes.
The Commission on Population (POPCOM) has said in a press statement
that by the end of 2018, "there will be 8,013,059 Filipinos over 60, constituting 8.2% of Filipinos. Of this group, 5,082,049 will be 65 and older. Most countries are considered aging if they have at least 7% of the population over 65 years old."
POPCOM further predicted that by the year 2020, the percentage of people in the Philippines aged 65 years and above will most likely reach 4.9% of the population. That number is expected to grow to 5.6% by 2025, and 6.3% by 2030.
With the growing number of senior citizens, providing universal and accessible health care services in the Philippines may take a while. That's why having personal health care insurance is recommended.
Looking for the right health insurance for the elderly may be a daunting task for many. Here are the most common problems when looking for senior health insurance plans and the best ways to deal with them:
1. Premium costs - Most senior citizens are financially dependent on their children, and are unable to afford the high premiums of many health insurance plans.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, the vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, is pushing for a Senate bill which will create a universal social pension system for all senior citizens
(or those 65 years old and above), to help elderly Filipinos and their families better meet their daily needs.
Senate Bill No. 2138, or the "Lingap Para kay Lolo at Lola Act," seeks to amend Republic Act 7432 (Expanded Senior Citizen Act of 2003), which was further amended by Republic Act 9994 (Expanded Senior Citizen Act of 2010). Senator Hontiveros has stated, "By providing income security in the form of universal pension for senior citizens, we not only assist them with their basic needs such as food and health, and help prop-up low-income families, we also create a tool to share the proceeds of growth across all of society."
The bill aims to create a social pension system that will be able to provide assistance to senior citizens aged 65 years and older, as well as senior citizens aged 60 to 64 years and classified as indigent. It also aims to expand the monthly government stipend for senior citizens from Php500 to Php1,000, to help with the costs of daily expenses and medical needs.
By giving them affordable options, more of the elderly can afford to pay for their personal health care insurance, which means more people will have coverage. Senior citizens can look for affordable health insurance premiums, some of which are as low as Php213 per month.
2. Clarity of information - Insurance terminology can often be difficult to comprehend, which can confuse potential customers and prevent them from grasping important information about their plans. In purchasing health insurance plans, it is vital to understand every detail of your coverage and its limitations. Problems can arise when you don’t understand what you are signing up for.
To counteract this, the Insurance Commission has ordered companies to provide a free-look period
for health insurance policies. This free-look period is for the benefit of policyholders, enabling them to review insurance policies and see if it meets their needs before they pay for the premium.
In addition to this, policyholders are also encouraged to read carefully, and refer to the glossaries or definition of terms in their policy, when available.
3. Affiliated hospitals - Not all insurance companies in the Philippines have affiliations with all the hospitals in the country. During emergency situations especially, finding a hospital that carries your insurance plan can often be inconvenient.
Additionally, although there is Philhealth coverage for senior citizens, the limitations of the program mean that it may not be able to cover all expenses. Thus, it's important to find a health insurance product that provides cash benefits to cover the expenses incurred from hospitalization due to sickness, injury or surgery regardless of which hospital the insured may be confined.
4. Familiarity with the brand and stability of the company – A company’s stability remains an important factor for many Filipinos shopping for insurance. If a company is fairly young or doesn't seem to have many connections, potential buyers may be put off.
5. Customer experience
– Poor customer service can often kill a business. According to a study by Accenture
, 52% of customers who’ve had a bad customer service experience with a company stopped buying their products and services.
A company that provides positive customer experience, listens and connects to its customers, and is available when needed is attractive to prospective insurance buyers, as these traits make it easier for them to address their concerns and receive prompt feedback. For senior citizens who may have questions about their policies, an insurance provider that is able to provide excellent service and coordination may be more attractive than others.
While there are many challenges when it comes to looking for senior healthcare assistance, the good news is there’s a product that could provide solutions to those problems.
Paramount Direct offers PrimeCare Cash Plan
specific for ages 50 to 75 years old. This plan provides cash assistance to the insured, reducing the worries caused by sudden hospitalization. The benefits are directly paid to the insured in a lump sum, so they get to decide where to spend the money.
Don't settle for anything less. Make sure to choose a plan that covers all your needs.