Out-of-pocket health expense of Pinoys rose in 2017–PSA

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THE out-of-pocket (OOP) health expenses incurred by  Filipinos continued to rise and expanded by 8.8 percent on an annual basis in 2017, according to the Philippine National Health Accounts (PNHA) released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

PSA data showed household out-of-pocket expenses reached P372.8 billion in 2017. This accounted for 54.5 percent of Current Health Expenditures (CHE) in 2017.

“Out of pocket expenses include medicines, food supplements, other medical products, therapeutic appliances, outpatient medical care, dental care, diagnostic services, and private and public hospital care,” the PSA explained earlier.

The PSA said more than half of OOP worth P186.6 billion, or 50.1 percent, went to pharmacies. Private general hospitals only came in second at P97.5 billion, or 26.1 percent, followed by providers of ambulatory health care at P50.3 billion, or 13.5 percent.

Data from the PSA showed that government schemes and compulsory contributory health-care financing schemes accounted for only 33 percent, or P225.9 billion of CHE. Voluntary health-care payment schemes contributed P85.7 billion, or 12.5 percent of total CHE.

The country’s Total Health Expenditures (THE) at current prices grew by 8 percent in 2017 to P712.3 billion, from P659.3 billion in 2016. It contributed 4.5 percent to Philippine GDP.

Last year’s the consisted of 96.1 percent CHE and 3.9 percent Health Capital Formation Expenditures in the government sector.

“Per capita health spending of Filipinos in 2017 grew by 6.3 percent to P6,791. In real terms, per capita health expenditure of Filipinos amounted to P6,090,” the PSA said.

In July 2017 Philippine Institute for Develop-ment Studies (PIDS) senior research specialist Danica Aisa P. Ortiz and research fellow Michael R.M. Abrigo said Filipinos carried the “triple burden of disease” that has caused the loss of centuries worth of life and billions in public and out-of-pocket expenditures.

Ortiz and Abrigo said the affliction of household members to communicable diseases (CDs) and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and other health conditions can take a toll on families through the loss of life and/or skyrocketing out-of-pocket expenditures.

The authors noted that 2015 data indicated that for every million Filipinos, around 580 years of life have been lost due to heart disease and stroke.  Further, for every million Filipinos, 95 and 75 years of life were lost due to tuberculosis and interpersonal violence, respectively.

Apart from the loss of life, households and the national government spent around P465 billion to finance CHE.

By classification of diseases/conditions, NCDs account for more than half of the 2012 CHE, followed by CDs at more than a quarter. Injuries constituted about 6 percent, or P30 billion.

Ortiz and Abrigo said there is a need to improve the health system, particularly service delivery and to put up functional and strategically located health

Also crucial, the authors said, is the adequate human resource that will deliver the necessary services to the afflicted.  The authors said the government should implement an effective health insurance program to ensure that Filipinos will be able to get the healthcare they need.


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