How often do Filipinos see a doctor for a check-up?
An in-depth study conducted by Capstone-Intel Corporation, a reputable private research agency, showed that a significant portion of the population neglects regular health check-ups.
Through the data panel research, the study on the frequency of Filipinos on medical checkups was conducted from August 1 to 10, 2023. A total of 1,205 respondents from 18 to more than 65 years old participated in the survey.
Based on the data collected, it was found that 40 percent of the respondents go for their annual medical checkups, 33 percent only get a checkup when they feel unwell, 15 percent rarely do so, 7 percent undergo medical checkups every two to three years, and 4 percent never get a checkup.
The survey also aimed to determine how the respondents’ behaviors in getting their health checked are influenced by their age, monthly income, and source of money.
This is especially relevant given the government’s Universal Health Care (UHC) law, which prioritizes addressing this issue. The UHC law offers coverage for consultations and tests to individuals who may encounter financial barriers when accessing healthcare services.
According to the study’s analysis of age demographics, the frequency with which individuals undergo yearly medical checkups varies across age groups.
Specifically, the study found that 51 percent of those aged 45 to 54 receive annual checkups, followed by 50 percent in the 35 to 44 age range, 41 percent in the 25 to 34 age category, 38 percent in the 55 to 64 age range, 31 percent of respondents aged 65 and above, and 24 percent of those aged 18 to 24 undergo yearly medical checkups.
“The resolution of this health concern is contingent upon consistent and informed guidance from our government especially since we have the Philippine Universal Health Care Act (UHC) which has benefits especially for seniors,” said Atty. Nic Conti, Chief of Public Affairs of Capstone-Intel.
With regards to the income of the respondents who undergo annual checkups, 8 percent of them have monthly income of P65,000 or higher, 12 percent have an income ranging from P35,001 to P65,000, 10 percent have an income ranging from P20,001 to P35,000, 6 percent have an income ranging from P10,001 to P20,000, and 3 percent reported an income below P10,000.
For respondents who earn less than P10,000 monthly, 32 percent seek medical checkups only when feeling unwell, 26 percent rarely have health checkups, and 16 percent have annual health checkups.
However, more than 50 percent of those with a monthly income of P65,000 or more have an annual health checkup.
“In a move towards providing universal health care, the Universal Health Care Act was signed by the government in 2019. In 2021, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 9072, also referred to as the ‘Free Annual Medical Checkup Act,’ which is linked to UHC. The appropriate implementation of these initiatives is crucial in ensuring that our fellow citizens benefit from these measures,” added Conti.
The research study also further demonstrated that a considerable percentage of individuals who undergo annual checkups are PhilHealth members, with a proportion of 36 percent, whereas only 3 percent of non-members reported undergoing such checkups.
Moreover, among those who receive checkups every two to three years, 5 percent are PhilHealth members, while only 2 percent are non-members.
For individuals who undergo medical checkups only when they feel unwell, 25 percent are PhilHealth members, whereas 8 percent are non-PhilHealth members.