PhilCare or Philhealth Care, Inc., one of the top two most preferred Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) in the Philippines today just released the results of Project PhilCare 2019, a national study on the health and wellness of Filipinos.

In a media briefing held earlier at the New World Manila Bay Hotel, PhilCare announces that based on the study, Filipinos are generally happy (or somewhat good) about their health but remain unprepared for medical needs.

The study dubbed as the PhilCare Wellness Index was conducted by lead researcher Dr. Fernando Paragas, Associate Professor of Communication Research College of Mass Communications at the University of the Philippines, Diliman.

The 2019 PhilCare Wellness Index is the 2nd study of its kind in the Philippines and was inspired by wellness and health indices in New Zealand (The Sovereign Wellbeing Index of 2015), Canada (The Canadian Index of Wellbeing), and the United States (The State of American Well-Being of 2017).

Both the 2014 and 2019 survey are aimed at measuring the “state of being happy, healthy or successful” among Filipinos.

According to PhilCare President and CEO Jaeger L. Tanco, the PhilCare Wellness Index was created due to the lack of available data that determines the level of perceived health and wellness of Filipinos.

The 2014 survey allowed PhilCare to develop affordable and responsible medical insurance plans that provided coverage to thousands of uninsured Filipinos.

From his presentation, Dr. Paragas said that this year’s PhilCare Wellness Index involved not just a survey, but also a series of focus group discussions, where participants from different sectors delved on problems and solutions relevant to the goal of inclusive health care.

In summary, respondents rated themselves as “somewhat good” in terms of their overall health. They also said that they felt good about their psychological wellness. Meanwhile, respondents also rated themselves as “somewhat good” when it came to their physical, lifestyle, nutritional, financial, and medical well-being.

Despite the optimism, respondents admit that they lack the confidence to address medical needs. 40% are unsure whether they can pay for medical bills and 35% are unsure that they could afford regular medical checkups.

37% managed to pay their bills using their savings, while 25% ended up seeking help from friends and relatives to pay what they owe. Only 15% were able to settle their bills using health insurance.

Also present during media briefing are former Health Secretary and Chairman of the 2019 PhilCare Wellness Index Dr. Enrique T. Ona, PhilCare Chairman of the Board Monico Jacob and former Health Undersecretary Dr. Susan Mercado.

Dr. Ona said that PhilCare needs to forge partnerships with the government sector so they could use the proprietary study to craft relevant policies.

He also said that he’s quite disappointed with Philhealth with their reported 60% coverage and attributes it to inadequate public information.

PhilCare President Tanco on the other hand said that HMO coverage is the lowest at only 5% as of present date.

Tanco also said that the 2019 PhilCare Wellness Index will lead the company to develop more program that will meet the health and wellness needs of Filipinos starting with their newest product the “Dengue Assist” voucher which covers 2 consulatations with Family Medicine and General Practioner Specialist at PhilCare Clinics and a single-use benefit up to 30,000 Pesos for hospitalization coverage due to Dengue disease in 500+ PhilCare accredited hospitals nationwide.

To end, Dr. Paragas said that we are long way to achieving the same positive results of other countries when it comes to health and wellness, and it will need the concerted effort of both government and private institutions.

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