that HMO card- how much power does yours have?

a friend of mine (who happens to be also the sister of another friend of mine- that was how i came to know her) found out a couple of days ago through her MRI scan result that she has a cyst just right beside her spinal cord. or something like that. i haven’t seen it and that was how it sounded to me.

she was attending PT (physical therapy) sessions for months now as she was always complaining about her back. for some reason, it was only lately that she decided to undergo MRI scan.

that was how she found out about it. (i found myself chilling for a moment when i remembered how dreadful it was when a scan i had five years ago showed a large lump in my breast. the doctors couldn’t find it when i went again for check up. its a little difficult when you do not have boobs- there is actually a possibility you can mistake your bones as a lump. but that’s another story.)

now, the problem is that her corporate HMO (healthcard) only has Php20k annual limit and that it was already 95% used up! *shocked emoticon here* with a hypochondriac like me, that is enough to rush me to the emergency room (for traumatic symptoms due to excessive fear of never having enough limit on the HMO card to pay for my hospital bills!)

i told mother this. she shuddered with the thought. since last year, she has been having her quarterly check ups here in Manila to monitor her thyroid cyst. if it weren’t for my corporate HMO (where i enrolled her as one of my dependents), i would have paid shitloads for all the check ups and series of tests she has to undergo everytime. but because she has the card, i only have to worry about the plane tickets.

HMO benefits were never any of my consideration when i review a job offer. i was young, a healthy hypochrondriac (really), and terminal illnesses and that sort were just not the type of thoughts i’d like factored in whether or not an employment offer is worth taking for. but when i was rushed to the emergency room a few years back, i found out how convenient it was to have a card of that sort (and with a healthy limit). i zoomed in and out of the hospital without paying a single cent, except for the cab fare- but that was paid by deo, really.

it is, of course, a benefit one always wishes one must not use. (like a life insurance. it is nice but no one wants to die early.) but it is a benefit that comes in handy when shit hits the fan. being sick and worrying about where to get the money for the consultations, the tests, and the meds- that is a lot!

now, she and her sister are worrying about the results and the possibility of expenses should there be a need to do more tests. i thought about my Php250k limit and wondered how many people i know could have make a better use of it (it is a little ironic that psychiatrists are not covered under the HMO programme; i could have used all of it with all the visits to the shrink i have to make. ahhhh, but that’s also another story.) now, if only it is transferrable. i guess, the insurance companies need to make money, somehow.

the point is (if it isn’t that clear yet), as applying for a personal HMO account is not only tricky but also expensive, yuppies like us ought to start looking at our company health benefits or that of the prospective employer’s. sure, a higher base pay in lieu of a good HMO corporate account is attractive- you get to see the difference in cold cash.

you sure do. if something inside your body starts breaking down, you would see the difference, too. you might be draining your bank account to fix it.


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