Most Pinoys not financially prepared for medical emergencies - survey

By Ted P. Torres, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 28 2014 08:53 AM | Updated as of Feb 28 2014 08:15 PM

MANILA - A survey conducted by regional insurance and financial giant AIA Group showed 96 percent of Filipino are concerned over increasing medical costs but only 16 percent are actually financially prepared for it.

All A unit Philippine American Life and General Insurance Co. (Philam Life) senior vice president and head of marketing Jessica Abaya said the survey shows a high state of awareness on medical issues but a low rate of availment.

 “While 75 percent admit that they think their health is not as good as it was five years ago, the respondents also admitted that they are not doing enough exercise, getting enough sleep, eating a healthier diet and going for regular medical check-ups,” Abaya said during the formal launching of its health insurance called Health Invest.

The survey shows that the top four health issues of Filipinos are cancer (51 percent of respondents); heart attack/diseases (45 percent), diabetes (25 percent); and respiratory illness (20 percent).

Health Invest is a unit-linked (investment) and life insurance that provides financial protection from health-related setbacks.

The Healthy Living Index (HLI) survey shows 32 percent of Filipino respondents expressed desire to lose weight versus the regional average of 53 percent.

Likewise, 53 percent of respondent have undergone medical check up in the past 12 months, although 89 percent would want to do so more often but hindered by steep costs.

In dealing with stress, Filipinos prefer: watching television/movies (60 percent); spending time with family and children (40 percent); exercise or playing a sport (21 percent), eating/snacking (17 percent), playing computer/mobile games; and getting a massage (16 percent).

Eight out of 10 Filipinos are afraid to retire, mainly due to fears of their inability to provide for themselves and for their families.

Sixty-six percent of Filipino respondents believe that having insurance coverage for both themselves and their family, but only 44 percent actually have insurance coverage.

The regional survey covered 10,000 interviewees covering 15 Asian markets, of which 750 came from the Philippines.

 “The HLI is important for AIA because this kind of information is vital for us in developing products that meet the unique health needs of our market,” the Philam Life official said.

According to the HLI, Filipinos are relatively happier with their health at an average of 7.9 rating versus the regional average of seven on a scale of one to 10.

When it comes to health concerns, Filipinos have more or less the same concerns as their Asian counterparts especially in areas such as top diseases, food safety, obesity, sleep gap, regular exercise, and ways to de-stress.

In the Philippines, 98 percent of Filipinos consider good family relationship as the top driver of healthy living, while in the region, sufficient sleep and a happy frame of mind are foremost.

The HLI noted that the prevalent use of Internet, mobile gadgets and social media are among the new threats to living a healthy life because it contributes to lack of sleep and exercise, and poor posture.