Is health equal to wealth? | Inquirer Business
Money Matters

Is health equal to wealth?

Q uestion: I have been hearing about health insurance HMO (health maintenance organization) plans. Are they any good and do I need to get one for me and my family? Answer: This is no chicken or egg conundrum. Health is more important and comes before wealth. For the most part, just a decent amount of wealth is needed for the average person living a fairly active life on a balanced diet will be needed to maintain that health.

Still, bad things do happen in life. And there is a need to be prepared.


Take the jeepney driver. He needs to always look forward while driving. He typically does not have a conductor. His passengers get on and off his jeepney from the back. So, how does he know that this passengers have paid their fare? Does he just rely on the honesty of his passengers? Does he just pray that all will pay because after all, “God knows Hudas (Judas) not pay?”

Jeepneys probably have the longest rear view mirror, which spans the width of the vehicle. It is through quick glances at his passengers through the rearview mirror and a good dose of memory-enhancing vitamins and minerals that our jeepney driver is able to track who among his passengers have paid and who have not. The jeepney driver does not rely on bahala na (come what may). Instead, he leans heavily on bathala na (I will do my best and God will do the rest).Similarly in life, we need to prepare for the bad things that may come our way, particularly when it comes to hits our health may take. Health insurance and HMO plans are great ways to be prepared. You can rest easy knowing that a stable company will be there to support you when you and your family need it.


Some complain that they keep paying premiums but are not able to make claims because nothing happens. That comes across as a bit amusing because people find it more of a necessity to buy fire and lightning coverage for their homes than buying health insurance or HMO plans. People buy fire and lightning coverage hoping they could file a claim to recoup their premium and more. Is it not true that buhay (life) is superior to bahay (house) because the difference is all about “u”?

My family, for one, has benefited from HMO plans—from the hospitalization of one of my daughters due to suspected dengue to my own kidney transplant operation. And nowadays, sicknesses are getting to be more complicated. You just have to look at the recent pandemic to know how complicated they can get.

Today, you can get health insurance covering critical illnesses as riders to life insurance policies. On the other hand, HMO plans are standalone packages. Both can cover the principal as well as dependents. Multiple health insurance policies will pay out benefits even for the same hospitalization claim while HMO plans will only cover the balance of the medical bill after PhilHealth benefit claims.

There are more differences between the two, including cost, coverage and client servicing. It is best to talk to agents of each to see which suits your particular needs. But once you have the budget, be prepared like a boy or girl scout and consider getting health insurance or HMO plans. Get them before you even invest because health is indeed greater than wealth. INQ

Send questions via “Ask a Friend, Ask Efren” free service at, SMS, Viber, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook. Efren Ll. Cruz is a registered financial planner and director of RFP Philippines, seasoned investment adviser, bestselling author of personal finance books in the Philippines and a YAMAN Coach. To consult with a YAMAN coach, email [email protected] To learn more about personal financial planning, attend the 97th RFP Program this August 2022. To inquire, e-mail [email protected] or text 0917-6248110.

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