Author: Arra Shayne B. Saquido, RN, MOH
Imagine a family member needs to go to the hospital. Neither you nor any of your family members have money on hand to pay for hospital bills; should you bring them to the emergency room? How about when your prescribed medication costs two third of your daily pay? Although a strengthened anti-deposit bill for hospital pre-treatment and continuous campaigning for the usage of generic medicine are in place, paying for hospital bills or maintenance medicine is a daily struggle for an average Filipino. This becomes a daily obstacle in obtaining health care.
In the Philippines, the following resources assist in paying health care expenditures: (1) national and local government, (2) insurance (government and private), (3) user fees/out of pocket, and (4) donors. Many Filipinos opt to use out-of-pocket money. The continuous rise in the cost of everyday living has also affected health care expenditures. Middle class and poor Filipinos are struggling to maintain medication regimens and seek professional medical help. For private and some government workers, HMO insurance is provided by their companies or agencies and covers one (1) or two (2) dependents. This insurance provides certainty that the employee/principal and dependents are medically covered up to a certain amount. Doctor consultations, emergency room expenditures, and other services are easily accessible without stress regarding on-hand money.
However, not all citizens enjoy this kind of benefit. The government has been steadfast in strengthening and developing the Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC) act that aims to provide primary healthcare for all Filipinos without financial constraints. This will open financial opportunities in terms of health interventions and coverage costs, which are significant factors that individuals consider before seeking medical attention. Currently, the country's intervention is classified into public health and personal-based interventions; the UHC is aiming to change this to population-based and individual-based health interventions that would entail appropriate interventions for each. It also aims to provide competitive compensation to health care professionals and shift the health care curriculum into primary care. These actions are intended to not only offer affordable health care services but also to improve the quality of health care delivery.
Lessening the obstacles to health care services will increase the health-seeking behaviors of the people. Middle class and poor Filipinos will be able to seek professional medical help, and in the long run, this will open more doors to improving the health care system itself and contribute to the economy.
Universal Health Coverage Bill. Retrieved from https://www.doh.gov.ph/sites/default/files/health_magazine/%5BHRB%5D%20Universal%20H ealth%20Coverage%20Bill.pdf. Accessed on November 09, 2018.
The Philippine Health System at a glance. Retrieved from https://www.doh.gov.ph/sites/default/files/basic-page/chapter-one.pdf. Accessed on October 29, 2018