Do you want to get insurance for you or for your parents? Buying an insurance for someone old may not be as easy as getting one for someone young.
Insurers offer fewer options. In addition, the available plans in the market usually are priced higher than those offered to the general population, or may have stricter or more limiting terms and conditions.
Find out in this article the various options that you may have in getting senior folks insured.
Care for Pinoy senior citizens
Getting insured may not be easy for people in advanced age.
It is true the Philippines is a young nation. However, the make-up of the population is going to change in the near future according to experts. By 2025, one in 10 Filipinos will be aged 65 and older.
Geriatric care, which is the term used to describe treatments specific for the elderly, can be quite expensive. Additionally, medical costs are rising. In fact, the rates of some some of heart surgeries at a state hospital can run up to over a million pesos. Availing of PhilHealth might proved to be inadequate, even taking into account the pension they get from the Social Security System.
They may need to see doctors more often than healthy folks do. They have higher chances requiring to go through surgeries and major operations. Add to the woes is they are more likely to be asked to be prescribed life-saving medicines on a regular basis.
Sadly though, experts noted the “low probability of receiving formal care treatment” among our elderly despite universal health care.
So what are the consequences in caring for senior citizens?
Firstly, much of the responsibility in looking after elderly Filipinos is taken on by families and relatives. They add pressure to a household of extended family that will need to set aside a part of the income for their healthcare needs. Moreover, a member of the family might be asked to watch over them especially when they are bedridden, require assistance, or no longer mobile.
Healthcare expenses, such as medical emergencies, can urge families to make decisions that can address short-term needs but disadvantageous in the long run. To pool money quickly, they might deplete their savings. They may be pushed to sell the ancestral house, real estate, and other properties at a bargain price. Or they give up their positions in stocks and mutual fund shares at a discount during a down-market, realizing the paper loss.
One other grim reality is that old folks may refuse to be a burden. Six out of ten worry about health deterioration. However, they might choose to keep their illness to themselves and not seek any treatment. That could worsen their medical condition down the road.
Insurance applications for senior citizens
Luckily, insurance policies for old Pinoys do exist. However, several things about them are apparent from the get-go when applying for a policy.
- Health check. The insured, that is the person whose health or life is covered by the plan, might be asked to go through lab tests and check-ups to determine their fitness. They’d be requested to disclose medical history, recent illness, prescriptions, past hospital admissions, etc.
- Pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing conditions are any afflictions that a person may have prior to getting coverage, whether they know about it or not. Most of the time, they are not part of what’s covered. Or they may be asked to wait for a specific length of time before the coverage can take into effect, if at all.
- Exclusions. Exclusions means benefits or proceeds of the plan are not released for some certain medical conditions. For example, a hospitalization cash benefit is only issued when the insured is admitted for a certain number of days. Likewise, several critical illnesses may not be covered by the plan.
- Premiums are higher. Premium, which is the amount paid to the insurer, can be higher for individuals in advanced age than for the youths. The difference in price reflects the risks as described above.
- Application may be denied. The worst that can happen is that an application for a policy will be denied. It can be due to various reasons: old age, chronic disease, the insured did not pass the health check, the overall health condition did not meet the criteria set by the insurer, etc.
Should our senior citizens buy insurance?
Given the information above, does it still make sense to get ageing Filipinos insured? A few factors that can come into play into making such a decision.
Personal circumstances. What is your specific situation? Are you insuring yourself, or maybe one, two, or several family members and close relatives? How old? Are you or they retired? Do you or they have steady stream of income?
Insurable. The next question is to assess the likelihood of being approved for an insurance application by determining how insurable the person/s is/are. How healthy? What are the known and/or pre-existing medical conditions? Any history of medical emergencies and prescriptions? Were there previous insurance application made before? What was the result of such application?
Insurance needs. It can be fairly said that people have increasing insurance needs as they age. The older they become, the greater the need to be insured.
Exactly how much is needed? No two people have the same insurance needs.
Moreover, consider too any existing insurance plans including government-mandated membership in SSS, Pag-ibig, and PhilHealth. Do they currently own any other personal policies? Or are you or they declared as dependent of policies like a HMO plan owned by a spouse, sibling, or child?
Financial status. Also, take into account any assets such as real estate, deposits, and properties that can be made available for emergency situations.
One other aspect worth checking is the ability to pay for the premiums. Will you or someone from the family willing to pay the tabs?
Insurance plan options for senior Pinoys
Below are a few of the options. Again, it is worth remembering these are by no means the only ones, and we encourage that you conduct due diligence.
- Prepaid cads
- HMO for senior citizens
- Insurance plans for senior citizens
Prepaid health insurance cards / Prepaid HMO cards
Prepaid health/HMO cards are an easy, accessible way to get immediate coverage without necessarily going through the loops and hoops in applying for a traditional insurance policy. For aged Filipinos, they can be affordable depending on the sort of inclusive benefits or services. They are also readily available. Many of them can be bought online.
|Prepaid HMO card||Provider|
|MedConsult Seniors||Insular Health Care|
|Maxicare Prima Gold||Maxicare|
|MediCard Health Plus E-Voucher||MediCard|
|unli-CONSULT for 65+||PhilCare|
|PhilCare Vida Care PREMIER||PhilCare|
For more details, read the discussion on prepaid HMO cards.
HMO for senior citizens
Another option is the HMO plans for the elderly. Plans for HMO (health maintenance organizations) are specific towards providing medical healthcare services such as hospitalization, outpatient treatments, etc.
|Plan 1M||Kaiser lnternational Healthgroup, Inc||61 years old and above, 1m annual benefit limit|
|Plan 250k||Kaiser lnternational Healthgroup, Inc||250k annual benefit limit|
|Plan 500k||Kaiser lnternational Healthgroup, Inc||500k annual benefit limit|
|Blue Royale Premier||Pacific Cross Health Care. Inc||66 and above|
|Premier||Pacific Cross Health Care. Inc||66 years old and above, reimbursement, 10% co-pay|
For more details, you may check out the section for medical (HMO) insurance for senior citizens.
Life insurance plans for senior citizens
And of course there are insurance plans that are specific for Filipino elderly.
|PREMIUM HEALTHCARE||Paramount Direct|
|Sun Senior Care Health Insurance Plan | Sun Life Philippines||Sun Life|
|Sun Grepa Senior Care||Sun Life GREPA|
Other possible options
- Declare as dependents to an existing policy of a family member
- Single pay VUL
- Savings account with insurance
Declare as dependents to an existing policy of a family member
Do you have an HMO or an insurance policy? Declare parents and eligible elderly relatives to the policy.
Dependents are quite rather easy way to get parents insured. In most, if not all, cases, they can be added to the policy with no or minimal additional costs. Once they are included, they can reap either whole or a portion of the benefits accorded to the principal (principal means the person originally insured).
Check if the HMO provider or insurer, or maybe the policy itself, allows for dependents. If it does, then some of the things that need to be looked into are:
- Benefits. Some policies allow 100% of the benefits to be given to the dependents. Others however will only allow part of the benefits. Still, others will set a cap (say a hundred thousand pesos) to be shared by both the principal and all declared dependents, or will be shared exclusively among dependents. There are other varieties as well that will automatically transfer the benefits to whomever needed them first, and when used up the policy gets terminated awaiting for either re-activation or renewal.
- Cost. Several products will allow addition of dependents to an existing policy without requiring more payments. However, there are others whose premium may increase as a result of including parents or any eligible elderly family member to the plan.
- Termination. In the case of a employer-sponsored HMO program, the plan may be co-terminus with the employment of the principal. Thus, when the principal quits their job, the plan gets terminated too. Other scenarios for termination will be age-related: individuals that are too old may not be qualified as dependents any longer.
Single Pay VULs
Another available alternative to insurance for old people are single-pay VULs. A VUL or variable universal life is a policy that has both insurance and investment components. A part of the premium (an amount paid to the insurer for the purchase of the insurance) is put into VUL investment funds in the hope that the money will grow over time.
VULs can be paid in several ways: regular pay (premium is paid regularly until a certain age), limited pay (premium is paid for a number of years), and single pay (as the name suggests, premium is paid once).
The reason single-pay VULs can be an option for ageing Pinoys is because most of them do not require any health assessment (this is subject to terms and conditions). Another feature is that generally, they are whole life policies. Coverage lasts until 100 years of age or upon the demise of the insured, whichever comes first. Add to that is the fact that issue age can be up to 70 years and/or above.
For more details, read the article on single-pay VULs.
Savings account with insurance
One relatively cheap and easy option for senior citizens to get insured is open a bank account that has an attached free insurance coverage. A number of banks is offering them. Depositors can open a virtual bank account, savings account, time deposit, or checking account, and they get insured at no additional cost.
The nature, benefits, and specifics of the coverage vary depending on the account. Generally, the depositor gets enrolled to a group policy for life insurance. Still others only provide cash benefits for hospital admission, in the event of accidental death and injury, permanent disability or dismemberment, or for burial expenses. (A few others will include a card insurance where one can get protection against lost or stolen card, unauthorized charges, etc.)
Remember that age can be a limiting factor. Very young or very old individuals may not be qualified.
For a longer, more detailed discussion, read our article on bank accounts with free insurance available in the Philippines.