CAMBODIANS are more prosperous than at any time in their history, but the pressure of modern life is taking a toll on the health of the nation.
Despite the rising average life expectancy, more Cambodians are succumbing to ailments such as coronary heart complications, cancer, stroke, diabetes, lung and kidney & liver diseases. These critical non-communicable diseases, according to the World Health Organisation, are responsible for more than half of total death in Cambodia.
And the cost of treating these illnesses and complications is taking a toll on the finances of individuals, families and the nation as a whole.
“Financial issues have been at the forefront of Cambodia’s efforts to rebuild the healthcare system and have been a crucial part of the reform process that began after 1993,” the Ministry of Health said in its latest annual health financial report.
The funding of healthcare in the Kingdom comes from three primary sources—the government, international donors and NGOs, and out-of-pocket payments, either from individuals or via insurance covers.
The report says that the government spent over one billion dollars on healthcare last year, while a further $191 million came from external donors. The expenditure has been rising steadily over the years since record-keeping started.
Medical conditions that need increasing funds (Asia-Pac: Cancer & Heart Diseases)
Differentials by geographic region among the risk factors that are expected to generate future claims are:
But the biggest rise in financing for healthcare comes from out-of-pocket payments, accounting for $658 million, according to latest figures.
Another point to consider is that people aged over 60 account for more than 50 percent of out-of-pocket medical expenses.
“That figure is likely to increase as the population ages,” the report says.
Cambodia is not alone in facing increasing medical cost. In fact, it is an issue that straddles both the developing and developed world.
PriceWaterhouseCooper, the global auditing and accounting giant, says in its 2018 report on medical cost that while the trend had come down over the past few years, it is likely to start rising again.
General inflation, a reduction in the number of drugs coming out of patent and the reluctance of small and even medium-sized enterprises to provide health insurance for employees will all contribute to the uptick, the report says.
However, on the other side of the coin, increased awareness of wellness and healthy lifestyles plays a part in keeping costs down. It may be obvious, but healthy people who lead active lifestyles do not get as sick as often as those who smoke, drink to excess and or do not exercise.
Nowadays, Cambodian is more aware of their needs of getting a proper healthcare plan that’s affordable and within their means.
In the old days, it is a common scenario that the general public does not plan or budget their health and medical bills. However, as the country progresses and education comes into play, the awareness of being insured is now a necessity.
Nevertheless, an effort to stay healthy does not necessarily shield people’s from the inevitability of the diseases. Therefore, having a well-laid plan for financial resilience is equally important for health issues.
Responding to the overwhelming demand and concern over health issues from Cambodian people, the global life insurance giant AIA has been at the forefront to help Cambodian live healthier, longer and better lives and to offer protection in the events of such diseases.
As a proactive advocate for healthy living in the country, AIA has been introducing various programs and campaigns for the well-being of Cambodians, including the recent opening of its AIA Wellness Lounge at Aeon Mall 2.