Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Health Concerns .. The Continuing Saga
Being into around nine months in my husband's stay in the Philippines, the MAJOR (MAJOR) concern is still and will always be his health. Now don't get me wrong, my husband is not disabled, or incapacitated in any way, but he certainly has health issues that require constant monitoring, and thus an equivalent allocation in expenditure.
As you know, a few months ago, I attempted to get my husband into my health plan. I was fully aware that most of his pre-existing conditions would not be covered (i.e. he had a nephrectomy because of renal carcinoma around 1992, a back surgery, and a high blood pressure). These are things I am fully aware of, but my only purpose in getting him into my health plan was to ensure that any other medical conditions brought about by his stay in a new land, can be addressed if it ever happens. I wanted to be able to ensure that he is well taken cared of if let's say he contracts dengue, meets into a traffic accident, etc. But apparently, because of old-time pre-existing conditions (his nephrectomy is more than 20 years old!), he was declined by my health plan.
I really get irritated with health insurance, they always want to insure those who hardly need it. I for one have had my present health plan for the last six years, and I have never once gotten hospitalized. They wouldn't even cover pregnancy if I ever should get pregnant. Honestly, their declining my husband is really what I just needed to look for another health plan that would offer better coverage for myself, and will allow coverage for my husband even to a limited extent.
With all these health concerns, I always adhere to the maxim that prevention is better than cure, thus, we spend on whatever diagnostic procedure is required to ensure that all his health conditions are well-monitored. Which brings to mind the necessity of budgeting for diagnostic procedures and medicines apart from the maintenance medicines. Since my husband has no medical coverage, there is also a need to have emergency medical money to cover for medical expenses. My estimate is the safe amount would be around P100,000. They would cover for any emergency medical expense but would certainly not cover such things as a heart bypass which I heard would cost from half a million to one million pesos, depending on the hospital you want to have the operation in.
Another matter that has come to my attention, is the excessive sugar in the Filipino diet. My husband doesn't have a high blood sugar, but since he lived here, his blood sugar has gotten slightly elevated. I think it is primarily due to most of the Filipino food products containing sugar. Although my husband carefully reads the ingredients in anything he buys, apparently some of the information in the products are misleading. I guess you can say there isn't really any truth in advertising here! :p
At present we are working on getting a colonoscopy. But we have had to wait until his colon relaxes (he is in a liquid or easily-soluble diet for a few days) and the inflammation subsides.
In this regard, I am beginning to think we have to seriously think about going back to the U.S., if only to ensure that he would get some form of assistance for his medical conditions.
P.S. On the VA health plan, unfortunately only his service-connected disability is covered. Non-service connected health concerns are not covered in the Philippine VA centers.