Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cost of Healthcare

If there has been of great concern to me even before my husband moved to the Philippines is the cost of keeping my husband healthy.

After 6 months of being here, I can give a rough estimate of how much some procedure costs.

When my husband's blood pressure shot-up some time around April, before we were able to get the right concoction of medicines that were available in the Philippines, we had a basic annual check-up done, e.g. CBC, lipid profile, x-ray, etc. and it costed roughly P5,000 even with a health card that gives us 15% discount on procedures.

Just lately when my husband was suspecting that his prostate is enlarged (it turned out it wasn't), we had several tests done. The following are the breakdown on the procedures, with the 15% discount already applied:

PSA Total (Prostate Specific Antigen) - P2448
Routine Analysis - P209.10
Bun - P303.45
Creatinine - P303.45
Uric Acid - P303.45
KUB Prostate - P2226.15
TotaL - P5793.60

Since we have isolated that it doesn't have anything to do with prostate, we are looking into getting a colonoscopy. At present, I haven't asked around yet except the ones I have gotten off the internet. I heard that a procedure like that would cost P20,000 in St. Luke's, QC, and P35,000 in St. Lukes, Global City. I asked with Healthway, and they only gave me the quote on the use of the machine which is P3,000 ++, they say I have to ask the doctor how much he/she would charge for the procedure. De los Santos hospital said the same thing, I would have to ask the doctor.

Since I have had much experience in bringing my closest of kin to hospitals (my mother specifically who was hospitalized when she had a heart attack October 2008), medical cost has always been a great concern for me. My mother had both of her eyes operated for cataract, each eye costing me around P25,000. When she was hospitalized for heart attack, the total bill costed P80,000 for 5 days of stay (3 days spent in an ICU), which I guess wasn't as half bad, if she had stayed in some other more expensive hospital. But San Juan De Dios Hospital (for those living near Manila Bay)is a pretty good hospital with doctors also holding clinics at St. Lukes. It is run by nuns who are devoted to quality health care and has even acquired ISO certification. Our cardiologist and endocrinologist both also hold clinics at St. Lukes.

At present, whenever my husband needs to visit a doctor we pay P400 for a specialist (per visit)and if it is just a general practitioner, we get to see one for free for our health card (the health card for Healthway cost only P1,500 annually, if you pay P1800 for an annual, you get a free annual check-up).

But right now I am working at getting him on to my private health plan with FortuneCare. It will not cover pre-existing diseases but it will certainly cover consultations, hopitalizations, and basic annual check-ups for other things that are not pre-existing. Also dental extractions, fillings, and re-cementation are for free. They give a 20% discount for other dental procedures. My husband has alot of pre-existing conditions, I know, and that may be the biggest expense in terms of healthcare, but at least any other thing apart from pre-existing conditions that may crop up will be covered by FortuneCare, e.g. dengue, accidents.

I myself am covered by my office for hospital expense up to P60,000. My health plan (just semi-private) covers me up to P160,000 and I have a health insurance that would pay me half a million if I ever have a critical illness.

The cost of semi-private annual coverage for me is just P7,440 and for my husband, P11,215. Not bad, huh? But as I said, with many pre-existing for him.. it's practically useless. And also even for me, it's just P160,000 coverage. I can't also be admitted at St. Luke's, Capitol Medical Center and The Medical City. Of course if I got the private coverage I can get into those hospitals. A semi-private coverage is just P800 room a day, anything extra is out-of-the-pocket already. So I am still thinking of getting extra coverage for hubby.

On the other hand, I think he is qualified to be covered by Veteran's Affairs since he has a service-connected disability (just 20%). I am still studying the possibility of this and the extent of coverage, so I will keep everyone posted. Anyone who has information on this can also leave me a comment to expedite my study. :)


  1. Those prices are pretty much in line with what I pay out here in Bulacan ... some things are slightly cheaper but also, for some procedures I might have to travel there to the metro, so it all comes out in the wash again (oh, no, not back to laundry again, LoL).

    Two recommendations. First, get your husband a PhilHealth card ... foreigner spouses are covered, and even though the payout amounts might seem puny, the PhilHealth card is an excellent first thing to present for any hospital work. As a Filipino employee, it should be free to you, if, for some reason it is not, he can join as a paying member for P1200 per year, lang.

    Second, I guess it has never come up b4, but if you hubbie has US veterans Administration benefits (and if he has a Service Connected (SC) disability percentage he should indeed be entitled to 100% coverage).

    This includes procedures at the VA Clinic on Roxas Blvd, contract care from Filipino providers the VA designates, and very important, since he has regular meds needs, coverage through the VA pharmacy program.

    I don't have any SC rating, so I don't deal with the VA folks, but most of my US contemporaries do, and the VA provides excellent coverage at the only VA clinic outside US territory.

    There is a VA office inside the US Embassy as well as the VA Clinic further down Roxas Blvd. Suggest he get his DD-214(s) and any VA paperwork he already has and make a trip to get the straight story from the VA itself.

    Just came back from my own health care initiative, my regular trips to Subic ... does wonders for my state of mind especially when I take the nephews alng ...... just let me know if you want a day in the sunshine any time ...

  2. Yup, my husband is on my Philhealth as among my beneficiaries. My mother and him are both my only qualified beneficiaries, although for the likes of me Philhealth is just a dent in most of the hospital expense I ever had to pay. That is why I am getting extra coverage.

    It turns out my husband is in Priority 3, and is qualified for in-patient and out-patient services without any co-pay. However, for medicines he will have to co-pay. We may replenish his prescription when we go to the U.S.. I don't suppose we can replenish it in the Philippines?

    I still want to get a private health plan for him. We can't travel to the U.S. if there is any emergency. I don't think VA has a hospital here, only a clinic?

    Anyway, we will schedule going to Veteran's Affairs so that we can learn the details.

  3. P.S. I edited the above post... just saw a quote on colonoscopy package procedures in Healthway

  4. Health care is really so expensive. Now, I don't wonder why so many people are not consulting the doctor for their ailments and why a lot are dying without getting the medical attention they need. I'm just glad my husband has a comprehensive medical insurance that extends to me and my son. Otherwise, I don't know how we'll survive. Glad to know you're now blogging; I still prefer calling you Claudette over Doods. I hope that's fine with you.

  5. Hahaha .. no problem Tetcha.. but I am not a very consistent blogger.. sometimes I just blog to kind of organize my thoughts when I am thinking of something. :p