Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Looking for health insurance for my family (because I'm all grown up that way!)

Posted this over at Twitter recently:

Yep, I'm still looking for health insurance! If you've been reading my blog long enough, I started looking for a private health plan for my family when the TMC disaster happened. By private, I mean it's a service that we pay for and not provided by the company I work for. Almost all of the recommendations I get from blog commenters and Twitter followers are the health plan providers that their company works with. The company I work for has health benefits, of course, but I'm looking for something more comprehensive and one that would cover all the members of my family, not just me.

So I've been researching and I've narrowed down my choices. I won't say what those are yet since I'll still give them a call and check them out. They might not look as good on paper, you know. What I'm really looking for is the kind of health plan my family got when my Mama was employed at Meralco. It's almost as good, if not better, than health plans in the US before the current health crisis. As a child, I was sick constantly. Like, I'd be confined at a hospital maybe 3-4 times a year. Not once did Mama have to take out her wallet to pay for my bills. Our dental needs were also completely covered, unlike today when only cleaning and temporary fillings are covered. Back then, we were assured that we can have everything from a filling to a root canal and not worry about the cost. Even cosmetic treatments (braces, bleaching, etc) were covered up to 25%. Absolutely frikkin' awesome. That's the kind of plan I want for my family!

Of course, that means I've been apprehensive about the cost of personal health plans, thinking that there's a reason why companies subsidize them. But I am happy to report that we actually have cheap health insurance here. My research shows that for just P10,000 a year, a family of four can get good coverage--private hospital room, good accredited hospitals, annual physical exams, dental check-ups. If you add another 5K-10K to that amount and you get absolutely fantastic coverage, the type that asks no questions, just pays your medical bill.

That plan, even if it may be P20,000 a year, I like very much. It's really not a lot of money. Just divide 20K by 4 (that's me and my three adorable boys!), and that's just 5K a family member for an entire year. That covers dental work, annual medical checks, and should someone get sick, great medical service and treatment. For peace of mind, 20K is nothing!

Someone told me, however, that the best health insurance is money in the bank. She doesn't believe in insurance, you see, thinking that it's all a scam. She said, "How many times does one get sick anyway? Once, twice? As long as you live a healthy lifestyle, you'll be fine. And for those times you do get sick, nothing beats cash." I do agree with her somewhat, especially since when I gave birth, both times were completely paid for by cold hard cash. There's a certain sense of pride knowing we were able to save up for a hospital like St. Luke's Global.

Still, if there's cheap health insurance available here anyway, I don't see why we shouldn't avail of it. What do you think? Should I or shouldn't I? Do you have personal health plans or is yours provided by your company?


  1. I'm gonna wait for the results of your research!

  2. Of course it's always good to have money in the bank. But I'm a big believer in health insurance. I've been lucky to have been employed in companies with very good health coverage -- for the whole family. In fact, because the hubby's company also has health insurance coverage, my family is doubly covered. And of course no one wants to get sick and you always pray for everyone, esp the kids to be healthy. But the fact is, you never know what's going to happen. My daughter contracted Kawasaki disease when she was two. The payment just for the medicine to treat it cost 90k, excluding prof fee. It was completely covered by insurance and we didn't have to pay a thing. Also, kids being kids, no matter how careful you are at home, they come in contact with other kids and can contract colds, flu, etc. I have a fantastic pediatrician but he's not cheap. it's 800 bucks per visit. But the health coverage covers these sick visits and lab fees except for vaccinations. So it's worth it. And believe me when I tell you that when 1 kid gets sick, all the other kids in the household get it. So yeah, I think it's a very good idea to get healthcare coverage for your family. Hope this helps!

  3. mine is provided by company, one of the best i've known although i dont think it's cheap. check out Van Breda International :) I'm working in an international organization btw.

  4. Hi Frances! :) Which company are you referring to re "P10,000 a year, a family of four can get good coverage--private hospital room, good accredited hospitals, annual physical exams, dental check-ups."? My family is covered by my Medicard now but in case I resign, we will be going for the other option :)

  5. I'm looking forward to your decision. I'm a freelancer looking for better health coverage, as well.


  6. I really should get health insurance as well. Ditto with firstwivesclub, will wait for the result of your research :)

  7. hope you share your research! the one you mentioned above seems nice and good value for money. please do share!

  8. On my first child we opted for Sunlife endowment plans.. Medyo pricey but in 10 years balik na investment. But with this second one, I'm not exactly sure na.. I will wait for your results sa research rin then we will decide.. hehe!

  9. Hi Frances! First off, congrats on the new baby! I told AJ that Inigo looks like you and Vito (what will Vince think of that hehe!).

    Anyway, this topic is really interesting and am glad you're making good choices as far as choosing HMOs are concerned. Maxicare, Medicare and Philcare are my best choices - we had them as the company HMO before and okey na okey ang service nila. In shopping for HMO, don't just look at the benefits. Check also if they have a lot of covered hospitals and affiliated doctors. Yung iba kse mura nga but kokonti ang doctors with specialization.

    Even though I have a company HMO that covers up to 2 of my qualified dependents, I opted to get a health insurance package also at Prulife because I want extra coverage in case of dreaded diseases. We all know naman na HMOs have limited coverage so this one is something I don't have yet kaya kinuha ko. I pay around P12,000 for this health insurance every year and it's gonna increase as I grow older hehe. Btw, the plan is good for 10 years lang but I figured okey na rin kse who knows what would happen in those 10 years diba?

    You can choose a similar plan with a savings feature and if you weren't able to use it for 10 years, you get all the premiums back with interest. But the premiums for this type of insurance is much higher.

    Going back to HMOs, tt's really wise to invest in one and then stick with it so you get covered na rin for pre-existing ailments. Good luck on your search!

  10. When I was still working at the company same as your building, I was covered under Maxicare :). They also gave me an option to make my parents my dependents for a very minimal amount (1600/month for both of them for 200k coverage). They also offered discount kung gusto ko i-enroll ung mga kapatid ko, so I enrolled them. Since below 18 pa sila medyo mababa pa ang premium (11k/year for each I think for 150k coverage). At least with the health card kahit yung mga sakit ng tyan and the likes pwede mong ipacheck kaagad sa emergency care para di na lumala :).

    Now that I'm working abroad, wala na akong health card and my parents (Mga kapatid ko na lang since I paid for 1 year). I'm also looking for options for a new health card for my parents :).

    Sabi nga ng dad ko, di bale ng magbayad ng premium for health insurance kahit di mo magamit. Mas madali magbayad kesa magkasakit :). Good luck F! :)

    PS I think Medicard offers a good family package, I'm still researching for feedback about them :).

    1. Mav!!! Nag-abroad ka na! Di ka man lang nag-paalam sa akin!!! =(

    2. Kakadating ko lang dito, as in yesterday lang hehe:). Oo nga eh, super biglaan tong opportunity :)

  11. Hi Frances, I believe in health insurance esp. when you have kids. Kids get sick a lot. Also, you never know what can happen -- accident, cancer, heart attack, etc...

    My husband and I were just talking about health insurance. I used to think that Western Europe has it good because of their socialized medicine. It is good to have coverage for all citizens, don't get me wrong, but with their budget crisis, I don't complain anymore( as long as we have a job). Actually, here in the US, most people get their insurance through employers (of course with monthly contribution too from employees) or Medicare (government for those 65 and older, disbaled, or end-stage kidney dse). The US also has public hospitals in which people without insurance can go. No hospital turns down a patient in an emergency situation (it's the law). My father actually got sick last year and passed away last December. He had insurance and they paid most of the bills. But he had co-pays and deductibles, so they applied for financial assistance and they got assitance. He was helped by a charity. Hospitals has charity cases that they cover depending on needs. The also has Medicaid or Title XIX which covers the poor, children, and pregnant women. My sister when she first came here had no insurance and she was pregnant. It's either to pay out of pocket or apply for Medicaid. She applied for Medicaid. Her pregnancy care and childbirth were covered. The baby was covered when she was born. Thank God because the baby had respiratory distress and was life flighted to Des Moines. The Life Flight alone cost 5 thousand bucks. Then, the baby stayed in the NICU for 3 weeks. Everything was covered by the State. It was not bad at all. Yes, the US healthcare system needs to be better. It is the most expensive in the world but it is not that bad when you have an insurance. The care that you get is usually top-notched. I worked in healthcare and we treat people the same no matter what financial situation they're in -- private rooms in the hospital, same food, high tech, etc. I worked as a nurse in Dallas, they had a lot of illegal immigrants who became patients in our hospital. They get the same care, though they were discharged earlier (sometime prematurely that they come back right away) than legal immigrants or citizens. Also, the money that you spent for healthcare can be tax deductible depending on your income.

    Anyway, I digress. The moral of the story is that health insurance is a necessity in today's expensive healthcare. The main cause of bankruptcy in the US is medical expense. Hopefully, not in the Philippines...

  12. Hi Frances, I was on the look out for insurance when I got back, but my mother discouraged me to get one. Before daw kasi we had medical insurance, pero ang nagiging practice of most doctors is that they charge beyond the limit set by the insurance companies. what happens is, nagiging double ang bayad: first to the companies, and then to the doctors. she said na it's better to have cash na lang.

    I might still get insurance though, kasi I'm really stubborn. haha!

  13. Same Question. I read through and inquired from different health Insurances. The conclusion? Caritas health shield! 5 years to pay, 10 years coverage and on the 11th year you'll have 70% of your contributions/ face amount money back!

    They have reputable hospitals and working on Asian Hospital Accreditation too! People swear by it well and that you need not to line up for emergency cases. You also have annual exam which includes the executive check-up! WIN!



  14. You can also change your beneficiary/dependents every year :)

  15. My older Auntie also swear by Caritas Health Shield. Specially for the older generation.

    I personally have two health insurance bcoz of my company's coverage and my husbands - Medicard and PhilCare. Both have their strong points. Like my Endo is with Medicard, while my Cardio and OB with PhilCare and my son's Pedia too. Dental benefits are not great on both sides though, more so with PhilCare. Dentists turn you away/don't prioritize u when they know u have PhilCare - they said that they pay too late.

  16. Oooh, we're in the same boat, Frances! :) Would love to know what you were able to research on so far. :D Congrats again, ha! Praise GOD on your safe delivery and the blessings of a new life to nurture and care for! Blessings to you and your boys! :)

  17. I'm covered by Caritas Health Shield. They're good but the only thing that becomes a problem with them is when I use my card for emergencies. Minsan they ask me to pay for certain procedures na supposedly covered naman plan ko just because they weren't notified that I was using my insurance that time. It's a bit weird though, eh emergency nga why should I (as in ako daw mismo) call them pa if I am in so much pain?

    But other than that, they've given me good coverage. Except for pregnancy related things.

    I'm looking for one for Jacob and Osc. I've been thinking that we're better off putting our money in the bank since we don't really know how many times we'll be using the card. But it's true that its good to have it around. My Mom did it, so I trust that it was a good move.

  18. I think Medicard has a good coverage that includes pregnancy-related things (yes, including delivery. Or maybe it's an add on kasi my fiance's co-workers swears by their company's HMO/insurance kasi nung nanganak ung wives nila they were fully covered or they paid very minimal amount during the pregnancy/delivery-related confinement (yes, Asian Hospital included).

    Do share your research, I'd like to know more about the different current Health Insurance coverage in our country.

  19. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the great work Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  20. Thanks for the review. Looking for the results of you research in the near future. I am thinking of getting a prepaid health plan. Do you have any ideas on this?


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