The 2nd PhilCare Wellness Index

2:32 PM
Metro Davao residents are smoking more and lack preparedness for medical emergencies but still feel good about their health according to a nationwide study by PhilCare, a leading health maintenance organization (HMO).

Residents of Metro Davao smoke an average of ten sticks a day compared to the nationwide average of about four as revealed by the 2nd PhilCare Wellness Index study.

Lead researcher and University of the Philippines associate professor Dr. Fernando Paragas

Davaoeñoes rated themselves as better in terms of health and wellness compared to most other Filipinos, with a “good” score of 2.46, compared to the “somewhat good” nationwide self-rating of 2.84.

However residents of Metro Davao also said that they do not have the capability to pay for their medical-related expenses and do not get to have regular check-ups, scoring 4.88, which is “somewhat bad” compared to the 4.02 nationwide score, which is “neither good nor bad”.

Smoke and drinks more but vaped as much

The study consisted of a total of 150 respondents from Metro Davao, 81 are male and 69 are female. Among the 81 male respondents, 65 (or 80%) said they smoke. Among female respondents, only five (or 7%) smoke. On average, male smokers said they consume about ten sticks of cigarettes per day compared to the nationwide average of 4 sticks per day.

Davaoeñoes also drank more beer with an average of 4 bottles per week versus the national average of 2 bottles per week.Men in Davao drink twice as much as women with 5 bottles per week for men and only 2.5 bottles per week for women.

While, Davaoeñoes smoke more cigarettes and drank more beer per week than the rest of the country they smoked e-cigarettes and vaped as much as the rest of the country at 2 e-cigarettes and vape per day.

Unprepared for medical emergencies

When hospitalized, Mindanaoans used their savings more often to pay for hospital bills at 56.2% of the time. After savings, the next source of resource for paying hospital bills for Mindanaoans are salaries at 25% and help from others at 18%.

On a nationwide level however, Filipinos rely less on savings at only 34.57%, asked for help at 25.10%, salaries at 16.73%, and the use of HMO at 15.14%.

This unpreparedness may stem from the lesser cases of hospitalization in Mindanao as compared to the rest of the nation. Only 15.05%Mindanao respondents say a member of their household has been hospitalized in the last year, whereas 19%of nationwide respondents say a member of their household has been hospitalized in the last year.

Costs could also be a factor to Mindanaoans unpreparedness as 52.27% of the cases of hospitalization bill were Php10k and below, 29.55% were between Php10,001 toPhp30,000, and 18.18 were between Php30,001 to Php50,000.

Hospitalization costs were generally higher for the rest of the country with 61.75% of the cases costing atPhp10,001 to Php30,000, 21.12% costing between Php10,000 and below, and 15.1% costing between Php30,001 to Php50,000.

A Responsive Study

Lead researcher and University of the Philippines associate professor Dr. Fernando Paragas said that the PhilCare Wellness Index is composed of several wellness statements.  

The wellness statements cover psychological, physical, medical, nutritional, financial, and lifestyle aspects. The index also asked respondents to rate their stress levels and satisfaction, among others.

Respondents from key parts of the country were asked to rate themselves from a seven-point scale, with the score of one as “very good;” two as “good;” three and four as “somewhat good” range; five and six as “somewhat bad;” and a score of seven, which is “very bad.”

First done in 2014, the PhilCare Wellness Index allowed the HMO company to develop affordable and responsive medical insurance plans that provided coverage to thousands of uninsured Filipinos. For the 2019 edition, 1,350 Filipinos nationwide were interviewed. 300 of the respondents came from Mindanao, 150 of which are from Davao City and from Tagum City, Davao Del Norte.

Mindanao Findings

Mindanaoans, in general, also said that they feel positive about their health despite being financially ill-prepared for medical-related emergencies and not being in a good state of health compared to the rest of the Filipinos.

Our countrymen down south rated themselves as having “good” health, scoring 2.67 compared to 2.84 “somewhat good” nationwide rating. But when it comes to the actual determinants of wellness, Mindanaoans scored 3.66, which may be “neither good nor bad,” but is worse than the “somewhat good” 3.24 nationwide rating. 

Mindanaoans also said that they do not have the capability to pay for their medical-related expenses and do not get to have regular check-ups, scoring 4.82, which is “somewhat bad” compared to the 4.02 nationwide score, which is “neither good nor bad.” But when it comes to rest and relaxation, Mindanaoans also spend at least Php4,800, much higher than the Php3,000 national average.

Other key wellness factors wherein Mindanaoans performed worse are financial wellness and lifestyle wellness. For financial wellness, they scored 4.41, which is “neither good nor bad,” but is worse than the 3.42 “somewhat good” nationwide score. For lifestyle wellness, meanwhile, Mindanaoans scored 3.73, which is also “neither good nor bad,” but is also worse than the 3.12 “somewhat good” nationwide rating.

Nationwide Results

Despite Filipinos’ “somewhat good” sense of optimism about their health, they admit lacking the confidence to address their medical needs. About 40% are unsure if they can pay for their medical bills, while 35% are also unsure they could afford regular medical checkups.

The inability to finance their medical needs was also evident in the findings of the survey, which said that more than 60% of respondents have incurred up to P30,000 in medical bills.

About 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.

Among the respondents that were hospitalized in the previous year, the survey also revealed that only 63% of them managed to use their PhilHealth benefits to ease the burden of their medical expenses. 

The study 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).

Apart from the self-evaluations of physical, nutritional, medical, psychological, lifestyle, and financial well-being, the study also measured stress, sex, vices, and health practices 

Dr. Paragas said 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.

PhilCare President and CEO Jaeger L. Tanco said the results of the survey are very useful in helping the health sector come up with programs that address the needs of Filipinos, helping them attain a better state of wellness.

There is more to health than just the absence of disease. Our vision is to help promote a brand of health that is holistic and inclusive. The PhilCare Wellness Index gives us a clear picture on where we are when it comes to wellness and, more importantly, it charts a clear path on how far we can go to promote health among Filipinos,” he said.

Former Health Secretary and Chairman of the 2019 PhilCare Wellness Index, Dr. Enrique T. Ona, said PhilCare intends to share more findings of the study to the public to raise awareness of the well-being of Filipinos 

PhilCare will also forge partnerships with the government sector so they could use this proprietary study of PhilCare to craft relevant policies. We have findings in this study that may be very useful in the goal of the government to attain truly universal health care,” Dr.Ona said.


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