Costly healthcare causes Pinoys to see shorter lives


EXPENSIVE healthcare has reduced the confidence of Filipinos that they will live longer and healthier lives, according to the latest study released by Manulife Philippines.

Based on data from the Manulife Asia Care Survey 2023, Filipinos expect to live only three more years after retiring at around 59 years old.

Of those surveyed, Filipino millennials aged 25 to 34 are the most pessimistic, believing they will only remain healthy until they are 55, below the average perceived health longevity.

“Filipinos are realizing that personal health issues cannot be isolated from the financial implications of critical illness, along with wider economic uncertainties,” Rahul Hora, President and Chief Executive Officer, Manulife Philippines said.

“While it is inevitable that our bodies change as we age and that the state of the global economy may be beyond our control, Filipinos can take proactive steps to strengthen their health and finances and have a more financially secure future,” he asserted.

High treatment costs

Manulife said financial risks posed by poor health lies in the cost of medical treatment, a significant concern for many Filipinos.

Nearly half or 49 percent of those surveyed said that the expense of treatment was their number one health management worry.

Other concerns of those surveyed include loss of income or job because of illness (37 percent), and not knowing who will take care of them in the event of illness (26 percent).

Almost all of those surveyed, Manulife said, are worried about at least one illness—with heart disease, diabetes and cancer being their top three
main fears.

The Manulife study also found that around a third of Filipinos surveyed believe they currently enjoy excellent physical and mental health.

With concerns about both their current health and health longevity, nearly all Filipinos surveyed claim that they are taking action to manage their well-being through exercise (65 percent), better diet (62 percent), regular body checks (52 percent), and closer self-monitoring (50 percent).

With their interwoven concerns about their health, finances and the economy, Manulife said 80 percent of Filipinos surveyed were keen on buying insurance, the highest in the region, where the average is 68 percent.

However, their current ownership of insurance is only at 59 percent and is the lowest in the region, where the average is 70 percent.

During the coming 12 months, however, 87 percent of those surveyed said they intend to buy insurance, with health at 36 percent, life at 34 percent, and hospitalization at 33 percent topping the list.

“It’s reassuring that Filipinos recognize the value and protection that insurance offers. After all, the insurance premiums will be far less than the cost of critical illness treatment,” Hora said.

“The best first step for those unsure how to purchase the right insurance plan for their needs and budget would be to talk to their trusted financial advisor, who would lay out and explain the various options without any obligation,” he added.

Retirement plan

Meanwhile, the Manulife study showed that the majority of Filipinos surveyed or 80 percent positively view retirement planning but only a third have a plan in place.

Retirement planning is considered by 55 percent of those surveyed as their top personal finance goal. However, 70 percent said they will have plans set up within three years.

Most are looking at relying on their cash savings or deposits at 46 percent; potential inheritance from family members, 18 percent; government or state subsidy, 18 percent; and support from their children, 17 percent.

“While these sources of financial support may be available to some, they are not guaranteed and can only go so far. They may exact a heavy toll on relationships, as expectations and burdens placed on supporting parties, especially if they are family members or loved ones, are often causes of conflict,” Hora added.

The Manulife Asia Care Survey was conducted via online self-completed questionnaires in seven markets: mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam.

A total of 7,224 people, aged 25 to 60 years old, were surveyed in late December 2022 and early January 2023.

In the Philippines, 1,004 people were surveyed. Each person surveyed either owns insurance or intends to buy insurance.

Image credits: Chokchai Poomichaiya |