By: Emy Retuta
OVERSEAS Filipino Workers (OFWs) should make sure that their membership with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is updated before leaving the country.
Updated member records and premium contributions will help ensure that migrant worker-members of PhilHealth, including their legal dependents, will be able to avail themselves of their benefits when the need arises.
This reminder was issued by PhilHealth in view of misconceptions that payment by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) of their PhilHealth contributions is no longer necessary due to Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s (POEA) implementation of a single collection policy starting last April 1.
“We want to emphasize among Overseas Filipinos (OFs) that PhilHealth membership is mandatory and that premium contributions may be paid through any of our accredited collecting partners nationwide prior to securing their overseas employment certificates,” said PhilHealth President and CEO Alexander A. Padilla.
The PhilHealth Chief also stressed that OFWs can very well use their PhilHealth membership even if admitted in health care facilities overseas and that even their legal dependents in the Philippines may avail themselves of the benefits, as long as the member records and premium contributions are up-todate.
The annual premium contribution rate for land-based OFWs is P2,400.00 and already includes coverage for all qualified legal dependents. The amount may be paid annually or depending on the length of duration of the employment contract, but not to exceed five (5) years. In view of the POEA’s single collection policy, PhilHealth OFW-members may pay their premium contributions through any of the 5,000 plus PhilHealthaccredited collecting agents nationwide, including the Post Office and payment centers abroad.
Entitlement to health care benefits for OFWs and their legal dependents begins on the day the premium is paid, and is effective for the period covered by the contribution. To update, OFWs may pay through PhilHealth-accredited collecting partners overseas, or may ask their next-of-kin in the Philippines to pay the premium for them.
“We want our OFWs to have peace of mind while they are abroad and away from their families,” Padilla said. “Maliit na halaga lamang ito nguni’t mangangahulugan ng katiwasayan ng kanilang isip at kalooban, gayundin ng kanilang mga dependents kung sakaling silaý maospital. That’s why we are issuing this
reminder for their benefit, since the premium payments will guarantee that their dependents will be protected while they are
abroad,” he added.
PhilHealth’s case rate reimbursement covers for hospital room and board, drugs and medicines, laboratory exams, as well as operating room and professional fees for hospital confinements of not less than 24 hours. It also covers an increasing number of outpatient services, such as day surgeries, radiotherapy, hemodialysis, and out-patient blood transfusion, among others. OFWs and their qualified dependents are also entitled to Primary Care Benefit Package I (PCB I) which includes consultations, diagnostics, preventive and promotive services without having to pay additional premiums.
The Z Benefits are packages of benefits that will primarily address catastrophic cases. Cases identified under the ‘Z’ benefit are childhood Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery, Surgery for Tetralogy of Fallot, Surgery for Ventricular Septal Defect, Cervical Cancer, Z MORPH, Kidney Transplantation, Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) First, and selected Orthopedic Implants. Qualified dependents of OFWs who are active PhilHealth members are entitled to a separate coverage of up to 45 days confinement per calendar year and shall be shared amongst them.
These include the OFW’s legal spouse who is not a PhilHealth member, or whose membership is inactive; the OFW’s children below 21 years of age, unmarried and unemployed; children above 21 years old but are suffering from illnesses/diseases which rendered them to total dependency to the member (congenital or acquired); and parents below 60 years of age but with total disability and are totally dependent on the OFW for subsistence.
As of December 2014, benefit availments by OFWs and their dependents already reached P1.2B affirming the fact that indeed, PhilHealth remains useful to the migrant sector.