Sunday, June 2, 2013

An Affordable Health Care Plan for Expats

As I have discussed in previous posts, an important step to living comfortably in the Philippines is obtaining a good health insurance policy . There are various private sources that offer coverage such as Blue Cross of the Philippines. But  these policies can be quite expensive and come  with various exclusions such as limiting coverage for  elderly policyholders to inpatient treatment leaving those seniors requiring outpatient services out in the cold.    

Enter the  government sponsored health insurance plan, Philhealth (Philippine Health Insurance Corporation). I heard of this service a few years ago but assumed that it was only available for Philippine citizens. However, I recently learned that foreign permanent residents can also enroll. Importantly, while many (most?) Philhealth members are employees working in the public and private sector and are covered under their employers,  coverage such as for self employed or non-working individuals is also available.

Premiums for private individuals are quite reasonable: PH450 per quarter, and unlike with most private insurers, there is no coverage discrimination against seniors. However, there is a waiting period of three consecutive  quarters before new members can become fully eligible for full Philhealth benefits and only if the premiums are paid on time during that interval. 

After signing up with Philhealth, it takes about a month for an applicant to receive his or her Personal Identification Number. At that point the enrollee must then go to a Philhealth branch to authenticate the membership and to make the first premium payment.(These offices are conveniently located throughout Metro-Manila and the rest of the country as well.) After that, the premiums also can be remitted at other various payment centers. 

For further information, click here, or call (02)441-7444.

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