Health insurance is highly recommended for all expats, medical emergencies can occur at any time and bills can mount up quickly. While private health insurance is widely available, it can be expensive and you would still need to pay the hospital fees yourself and claim later. An alternative option is the PhilHealth programme which is government subsidised and runs the National Health Insurance Programme in the Philippines.
PhilHealth - National Health Insurance Programme
The National Health Insurance Programme was set up to provide universal health-care coverage for all residents and is the cheapest option for insurance. Although the cover is fairly comprehensive, you might want to top it up with extra money. One benefit is you won’t have to pay up front for admission into hospital. To enrol in this programme you will have to be classed in one of the following categories:
- Formal worker - you and your employer pay 50/50 of the cost
- IPP - The individual paying programme for those who are self-employed
This programme is fairly comprehensive, covering inpatient care, emergencies, deliveries, out-patient care for malaria and TB, among other things. Approved centres include private and public hospitals, 61% private and 39% public, with all institutions covered by this programme accredited by the Department of Health.
For more information visit: www.philhealth.gov.ph/
Private health insurance
If you opt for a private health insurance programme there are many international and local providers available. The coverage tends to be a bit more costly than the national programme but there are always several types of coverage to choose from. Below is a list of things to consider before selecting your insurance:
- Is there an age limit?
- Does it include repatriation, and would family members be able to travel with you?
- What cover is provided for chronic conditions?
- Are sports covered, or physiotherapy if a sports injury is likely?
- If the policyholder moves country, can the coverage be transferred easily?
- Is maternity cover included?
- Is dental treatment part of the plan or can it be added on?
Some of the large, international insurance providers are Bupa, Expat Medical Insurance, William Russell and Blue Cross.