Healthcare expenses remain a big burden for the Pinoys despite CSU
EVEN though government health plans accounted for the largest portion of healthcare spending in the country, Filipinos were still the second largest contributor along with out-of-pocket spending. And, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), every Filipino spent nearly 10,000 pesos a year on health-related goods and services in 2021.
PSA said that on average, each Filipino spent 9,839.23 pesos on health in 2021. This is 17% more than the health expenditure of 8,411.52 pesos per capita recorded in 2020.
“Publicly funded health expenditure and mandatory contributory health care financing schemes were the largest among the sources of health financing in the country in 2021,” the PSA reported.
Health expenditure through the government amounted to 546.64 billion pesos, or 50.3% of the CHE.
However, out-of-pocket payments (OOP) came second with 451 billion pesos or 41.5%, followed by voluntary health care payment schemes which contributed 89.35 billion pesos or 8.2 %.
It’s one of the reasons lawmakers pushed for the full implementation of universal health care, three years after the UHC law was passed.
In terms of income quintiles, health expenditure of the fifth quintile (top quintile) was the highest with P379.76 billion or 34.9% share.
PSA data showed that the poorest quintile or poorest Filipinos spent a total of 190.43 billion pesos, or 17.5% of the total health expenditure in the country.
PSA said the country’s health expenditure or current health expenditure (CHE) reached 1.09 trillion pesos in 2021, 18.5% higher than the 917.15 billion pesos posted in 2020.
This increase was faster than the 12.8% growth recorded the previous year. Meanwhile, gross expenditure on health capital formation (HK) amounted to 71.15 billion pesos in 2021, a contraction of 19.6% from the 88.54 billion pesos reported in 2020.
Total health expenditure (THE), which included CHE or 93.9% and HK or 6.1%, recorded 1.16 trillion pula in 2021. It increased by 15.2% from 1.01 trillion pula recorded in 2020.
“The share of THE in the gross domestic product [GDP] at current prices was 6% in 2021,” PSA said in a statement.
“Reduce personal expenses”
Earlier, the AfDB’s Senior Health Specialist in Southeast Asia, Eduardo P. Banzon, said the level of health spending in response to Covid-19 should be maintained and used as a new baseline in years forthcoming to continue reducing the out-of-pocket expenses of Filipinos for their medical needs.
In a presentation at the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) Development Policy Research Month (DPRM) forum, Banzon said government health spending had seen a “dramatic increase”. to 28% in 2020.
While public health spending has been increasing since 2016, the rate of increase has never exceeded 20%. Before the rate of increase in 2020, public health spending showed the largest increase in 2018 at 18%.
The increase in health care spending is necessary given the difficulties faced by Filipino families, especially when faced with “catastrophic health care spending”, which is greater than or equal to 40% of the country’s ability to pay. a household.
In a study, Vincen Gregory Yu, Research Associate of the Development Studies Program at Ateneo de Manila University, said that the health financing experiences of ordinary Filipinos can be summed up in 4 “Ps” – pagtitiis , pangungutang, pagmamakaawa and PhilHealth.
Pagtitiis, which means persistent symptoms of health problems, involves refusing to seek treatment and resorting to self-medication.
Filipinos would also turn to alternative or traditional medicine.
For Filipinos, pangungutang or borrowing money often becomes their first resort to meet their medical needs. Unfortunately, Yu said, this “often leads to more disasters.”
The third “P” is pagmamakaawa which refers to the process of soliciting help from public and private institutions and individuals. This often happens as a last resort when no friends or family can lend them money, or one has exhausted their donations.
PhilHealth, in reference to the state health insurer, is the last “P” in health financing. This is only accessible when Filipinos are already hospitalized.