PhilCare Wellness Index 2019: Davaoeños said they are “unprepared for medical needs”

There is more to health than just the absence of disease.

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When asked about their medical wellness, Davaoeños said they either did not have enough monetary resources for medical-related expenses or did not have regular check-ups compared to most other Filipinos. Davaoeños scored a “somewhat bad” 4.88 rating compared to the nationwide average of 4.02, which means “neither good nor bad.” MORE FINDINGS BELOW.

Data from the 2019 nationwide study by PhilCare, a leading health maintenance organization (HMO) showed that residents of Metro Davao lack preparedness for medical emergencies. A worrisome result considering that most of the survey’s respondents are services and sales employees hired by private companies. It seems that “Health is Wealth” and “Prevention is better than cure” are empty reminders to both capable-to-save hard workers and thoughtful business owners. 

“There is more to health than just the absence of disease. Our vision is to help promote a brand of health that is holistic and inclusive. The PhilCare Wellness Index gives us a clear picture on where we are when it comes to wellness and, more importantly, it charts a clear path on how far we can go to promote health among Filipinos,” – Jaeger L. Tanco, PhilCare President and CEO

What should you do?

Numbers do not lie. Whenever you are not one of those who are not prepared when medical needs come, you are smart. But I am sure you have that friend who is not yet passionately informed how “wealthy” it is when he is in his best health. And more importantly, how helpful being cautious for future health emergencies really is. Let him know how smart you are when it comes to your health. Now.


A Responsive Study

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PhilCare Wellness Index 2019 lead researcher and University of the Philippines associate professor Dr. Fernando Paragas

First done in 2014, the PhilCare Wellness Index allowed the HMO company to develop affordable and responsive medical insurance plans that provided coverage to thousands of uninsured Filipinos.

PhilCare introduced the very first prepaid health plans in the country.  From prepaid to comprehensive coverage, PhilCare’s extensive line of products covers hospitalization, out-patient and emergency healthcare needs across a nationwide network of hospitals, clinics, and physicians.

The PhilCare Wellness Index is composed of several wellness statements which cover the aspects of psychological, physical, medical, nutritional, and lifestyle. For the 2019 edition,  the financial element was added. The index also asked respondents to rate their stress levels and satisfaction from sex, among others.

This year’s respondents included 1,350 Filipinos nationwide – 300 of the respondents came from Mindanao, 150 of which are from Davao City and from Tagum City, Davao Del Norte. Respondents were asked to rate themselves from a seven-point scale, with the score of one as “very good;” two as “good;” three and four as “somewhat good” range; five and six as “somewhat bad;” and a score of seven, which is “very bad.”.

The PhilCare Wellness Index is the only study in the country that measures the level of perceived health and wellness among Filipinos.

PhilCare Wellness Index 2019 – Davao Findings

Overall, Davaoeños rated themselves as better in terms of health and wellness compared to most other Filipinos, with a “good” score of 2.46, compared to the “somewhat good” nationwide self-rating of 2.84.

However, they fared the opposite when it came to their overall composite score for wellness. Davaoeños scored 3.66, which is classified as “neither good nor bad,” compared to the “somewhat good” nationwide rating of 3.24. 

The average rating of the respondents’ overall composite score is based on six wellness domains: psychological, physical, lifestyle, financial, medical, and nutritional wellness.

When it came to their rest and relaxation spending, however, Davaoeños spent a lot more than most other Filipinos, shelling out an average of at least Php4,800. That is around 60% higher than the nationwide average of at least Php3,000.

When asked about how well their finances are, Davaoeños said they are in a worse shape compared to most other Filipinos. They scored 4.38, which means “neither good nor bad” on the Wellness Index scale, but means worse compared to the “somewhat good” nationwide score of 3.42. 

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 “PhilCare will also forge partnerships with the government sector so they could use this proprietary study of PhilCare to craft relevant policies. We have findings in this study that may be very useful in the goal of the government to attain truly universal health care,” – Former Health Secretary and Chairman of the 2019 PhilCare Wellness Index, Dr. Enrique T. Ona

This means that Davaoenos said they do not earn that much as others and are in less of a position to save and invest. They are also relatively not comfortable with their debt situation.

Davaoeños also fared worse than most other Filipinos in terms of lifestyle wellness, scoring 3.72, which is classified as “neither good nor bad” compared to the “somewhat good” nationwide average of 3.12.

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WELLNESS SUMMARY, Metro Davao

PhilCare Wellness Index 2019 – Mindanao Findings 

Mindanaoans, in general, also said that they feel positive about their health despite being financially ill-prepared for medical-related emergencies and not being in a good state of health compared to the rest of the Filipinos.

Our countrymen down south rated themselves as having “good” health, scoring 2.67 compared to 2.84 “somewhat good” nationwide rating. But when it comes to the actual determinants of wellness, Mindanaoans scored 3.66, which may be “neither good nor bad,” but is worse than the “somewhat good” 3.24 nationwide rating. 

Mindanaoans also said that they do not have the capability to pay for their medical-related expenses and do not get to have regular check-ups, scoring 4.82, which is “somewhat bad” compared to the 4.02 nationwide score, which is “neither good nor bad.” But when it comes to rest and relaxation, Mindanaoans also spend at least Php4,800, much higher than the Php3,000 national average.

Other key wellness factors wherein Mindanaoans performed worse are financial wellness and lifestyle wellness. For financial wellness, they scored 4.41, which is “neither good nor bad,” but is worse than the 3.42 “somewhat good” nationwide score. For lifestyle wellness, meanwhile, Mindanaoans scored 3.73, which is also “neither good nor bad,” but is also worse than the 3.12 “somewhat good” nationwide rating.

Of the 150 respondents in Metro Davao, 81 are male and 69 are female. Among the 81 male respondents, 65 (or 80%) said they smoke. Among female respondents, only five (or 7%) smoke. On average, male smokers said they consume about ten sticks of cigarettes per day.

Sex Life

More Davaoeños and Mindanaoans, percentage-wise, have sex compared to the rest of the country, both at 77% (116 respondents for Metro Davao, 232 respondents for Mindanao) compared to 61% (821 respondents) nationwide.

Davaoeños and Mindanaoans are also more satisfied with their sex life compared to most Filipinos, rating it as “good” (2.05 for Metro Davao, 2.10 for Mindanao) as against other Filipinos, who describe it as “somewhat good” (2.74).

Also, Davaoeños and Mindanaoans who said they have sex said they do it thrice a week compared to the nationwide average of twice a week.

In Metro Davao, specifically, more males (92.5% or 75 respondents) have said they have sex compared to females (61% or 42 respondents). 

Dr. Paragas said this year’s PhilCare Wellness Index involved not just a survey, but also a series of focus group discussions, where participants from different sectors delved on problems and solutions relevant to the goal of inclusive health care.

PhilCare Wellness Index 2019 – Nationwide Results

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WELLNESS SUMMARY: Nationwide

Despite Filipinos’ “somewhat good” sense of optimism about their health, they admit lacking the confidence to address their medical needs. About 40% are unsure if they can pay for their medical bills, while 35% are also unsure they could afford regular medical checkups.            

The inability to finance their medical needs was also evident in the findings of the survey, which said that more than 60% of respondents have incurred up to P30,000 in medical bills. 

About 37% managed to pay their bills using their savings, while 25% ended up seeking help from friends and relatives to pay what they owe. Only 15% were able to settle their bills using health insurance. 

Among the respondents that were hospitalized in the previous year, the survey also revealed that only 63% of them managed to use their PhilHealth benefits to ease the burden of their medical expenses.  

Apart from the self-evaluations of physical, nutritional, medical, psychological, lifestyle, and financial well-being, the study also measured stress, sex, vices, and health practices.

Dr. Paragas said this year’s PhilCare Wellness Index involved not just a survey, but also a series of focus group discussions, where participants from different sectors delved on problems and solutions relevant to the goal of inclusive health care.

PhilCare President and CEO Jaeger L. Tanco said the results of the survey are very useful in helping the health sector come up with programs that address the needs of Filipinos, helping them attain a better state of wellness.

“There is more to health than just the absence of disease. Our vision is to help promote a brand of health that is holistic and inclusive. The PhilCare Wellness Index gives us a clear picture on where we are when it comes to wellness and, more importantly, it charts a clear path on how far we can go to promote health among Filipinos,” he said.

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The study was inspired by wellness and health indices in New Zealand (The Sovereign Wellbeing Index of 2015), Canada (The Canadian Index of Wellbeing), and the United States (The State of American Well-Being of 2017).


PhilhealthCare, Inc. (PhilCare) is among the top two most preferred HMOs in the country today. It distinguishes itself from other health maintenance organizations (HMO) in the Philippines by advocating wellness as a more holistic approach to health.

This is achieved through PhilCare’s sustainable health plans, PhilCare 360, and its technology-enabled customer experience. PhilCare offers a wide range of health care plans to serve the different requirements of individuals, group, and enterprise accounts.

PhilCare pioneered the country’s first Wellness Index in 2014.  Based on the findings of that study, PhilCare introduced the very first prepaid health plans in the country.  From prepaid to comprehensive coverage, PhilCare’s extensive line of products covers hospitalization, out-patient and emergency healthcare needs across a nationwide network of hospitals, clinics, and physicians.

PhilCare 360, on the other hand, provides members with updates about health information, preventive measures against diseases and illnesses, and lifestyle trends that promote health and wellness. Meanwhile, PhilCare’s tech-enabled customer service efforts involve their accessible website and e-commerce, their call center that’s available 24/7, and its HeyPhil App where members can ask queries and request for a Letter of Authorization (LOA).

PhilCare’s commitment to promote wellness among Filipinos makes it an essential pillar of Maestro Holdings, a grand concord of four of the biggest and respected financial companies in the Philippines. Under the Maestro’s baton, PhilCare joins four of the most recognizable names in their respective industries: PhilsFirst, the first domestic non-life insurance company in the country; PhilLife, one of the most trusted insurance providers in the Philippines; PhilPlans, one of the leading financial solutions companies providing pension, education, and memorial programs.