Here is a scenario: You are excited over the prospect of moving from employee to entrepreneur. After all, you are confident that you had put the finishing touches—business registrations, internal revenue tax documentations, signed leases—to get your dream business off the ground. You have revisited all in your business checklist to ascertain that all systems are go.
But are you really sure? Have you looked at cutting the risks?
You think I am talking about fire insurance or third-party liability insurance? Nope, wrong.
I bet you forgot to secure your own health insurance in preparation for Day 1 as a businessperson. I bet that you forgot that at this point of your fledgling business, the greatest asset is no other than YOU.
See, when you are on your own, you cannot anymore rely on some employer to file hospitalization documents with PhilHealth on your behalf nor summon your health maintenance organization (HMO)’s officer to visit you in your hospital room and facilitate the payment of your hospital bills. That is, not if you are not enrolled with the HMO anymore.
Visiting your doctor at the first sign of a cold is something you would not do without much thought anymore either. After all, once you are out of your job, you cease to avail of free consult benefits provided by your (former) employer’s HMO or health insurance.
Now as a self-employed entrepreneur, you might get the surprise of your life to know that a visit to a doctor actually costs as much as P1,000 a pop—A thousand pesos that you could have parlayed for your growing business. And we have not begun to talk about the costs of the diagnostic tests yet.
What I am trying to say here is this: Cut your risk as early as possible. Sure, an HMO membership these days—particularly if you are in your 40s and above—is not really dirt cheap. But let me put it this way: It is understandable for you to initially hesitate to shell out something like P20,000 a year for your HMO membership (or even more, for older individuals). After all, P20,000 does sound a lot. But unless you are 100% sure that you are immune to any diseases (or like Wolverine, can self-heal), you would thank the heavens that you did not let your spendthrift-side get the better of you.
That P20,000 membership would look reasonable when you consider how much an average hospital confinement (knock on wood) actually costs. Example, even a simple case of gastroenteritis can make you P30,000 poorer if you are to dip into your own pockets for your private room confinement.
Here’s one more point: As an entrepreneur, you do not earn anything if you do not work (Remember, we are talking here of a start-up businessman’s case). Ergo, you owe it to yourself to look after your health every day of your working life.
Finally, every business person should not look at healthcare for its curative purposes. More than that, the mindset should be geared toward preventive healthcare as well—even as early as Day 1 of the business.