They say the most expensive time in a persons life is the few days at the beginning and ends of their life
What does it mean
When a baby is born, the parents must spend a lot of money on delivery costs, medications, doctor follow ups, checkups and if the mother or baby is sick then there is the ICU costs added to it.
When we are near the end of our lives, that time also has a high price……cost of medications, surgery, ICU stay, specialist visits and so on
What I would like to discuss is the burden or pain that is left on the family and caretakers…..especially the financial burden….
Bangladesh has the highest rates of out-of-pocket medical expenses……meaning with a absence of proper health safety net, health insurance bd of course poor performance of the health system……we pay extremely high costs….whether the patient lives or dies
I have met many families that literally sell off everything
all of it just to pay the hospital down deposit…..extra charges….and then the final bill of course
This causes immediate catastrophic bankruptcy
Homeless and hopeless in a few seconds
The poor of course suffer always…..and many make the painful choice not to continue due to their already limited lives
The middle class may have good spending power but often very poor assets
Empty bank savings account
Simple cheap car
Average amount of jewellery maybe
Where will you get immediate cash?
How much can you ask family and friends
How likely your boss will give you a salary advance
Will you get a good and adequate price after selling everything
Will it be enough?
The almost rich are no better
Super rich of course can fly off to foreign specialised hospitals….
Any top hospital I recommend from my network they will gladly accept
But even rich people can become bankrupt if the medical bills are high enough
Bangladesh government, many private banks and even Brac is considering strategies to create a financial health safety net…….there is a long way to go
The problem is not the concept
In my opinion the problem lies with creating enough value and trust….to allow people to plan for future problems BEFORE they occur
So how can you convince a distrusting population to save enough money for future expenses when our daily lives are filled with short term gains and short term views?
There is much to say about medical bankruptcy.....but it starts with the public first......
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Thank you for you time and I wish you good health
Dr. Ismail Sayeed
MBBS MMed MSc
Founder & CEO