It is always a good idea to have health insurance. At one time or another, you are going to need professional medical assistance, and it can drain your coffers fast.
The life savings you have worked hard for can be easily wiped out with a life-threatening illness, either through covering treatment or death itself. Therefore, having health insurance is a good way to make sure you have something to fall back on during those trying times.
For most Filipinos, PhilHealth is where they can turn to for health insurance. However, while it should be easy enough for Filipinos who stay in the country, those who go abroad to work may be a bit more hard-pressed.
Fortunately, with the cooperation of OWWA, PhilHealth now has a program that gives expanded benefits to OFWs.
What Can PhilHealth Do for OFWs?
Overseas Filipino workers need more in terms of health benefits due to the nature of their work, which is why PhilHealth extends its hand to the vast number of OFWs who can use every bit of help they can get.
Since the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is a government-owned agency and a big part of the Filipino economy is from OFW remittances, there is a great interest in making sure OFWs are taken care of.
PhilHealth covers three kinds of OFWs, namely sea-based OFWs like seafarers and others who work on ships and offshore locations, land-based OFWs, and Filipinos with dual citizenships.
PhilHealth benefits that OFWs are entitled to include inpatient benefits, outpatient benefits, Z benefits, and MDG-related benefits.
PhilHealth Claim Reimbursement
As OFWs, you get to avail of PhilHealth benefits even if you are abroad through claim reimbursements. If you are ever confined in a hospital abroad, you have 180 days upon discharge to submit a claim document to any PhilHealth office in the Philippines.
Qualified dependents are also entitled to the same benefits as you, thus being able to take care of their medical needs even when you are working outside the country.
PhilHealth Lifetime Membership
Upon reaching retirement age and having paid at least 120 months worth of contributions are automatically qualified for lifetime membership in PhilHealth.
Since PhilHealth covers over 4,600 medical and surgical procedures, including cancer and other dreaded illnesses, having a lifetime PhilHealth membership is certainly a good thing.
How to Apply for PhilHealth as an OFW
If you are not yet an active and contributing PhilHealth member, you will have to enroll while also declaring your status as an active OFW.
If you are already an active PhilHealth member and just recently became an OFW, then you will have to update PhilHealth on your status.
To avail of this program, get a PhilHealth Member Registration Form (PMRF) and fill it up, then make duplicate copies of it. Bring that, along with supporting documents for legal dependents, proof of status as an active OFW, and payment for corresponding premium contribution to a nearby PhilHealth office.
If you are already overseas, find a PhilHealth office if you can and present a PhilHealth Premium Payment Slip (PPPS), copies of the PMRF if you aren’t a member yet, a valid ID or identifying document (i.e. birth certificate, baptismal certificate, POEA ECARD, SSS ID, company ID, passport), and payment for corresponding premium contribution.
Where to Pay PhilHealth Contributions
You may pay your premiums or contributions to PhilHealth through any of the following options:
- PhilHealth-accredited collecting agents and tie-ups abroad. (Click here to see the complete list.)
- Accredited collecting partners in the Philippines or through the PhilHealth Counter at the POEA, Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City. (Click here to see the complete list.)
You need to pay your premiums whether you’re employed abroad or currently waiting for employment to ensure that you can avail of your benefits when the need arises.
Also, you need your PIN or PhilHealth Identification Number when paying your contributions and make sure it’s correct to ensure that your premiums won’t be credited to another member.
How to File a Claim for Hospital Confinement Abroad
For OFWs and PhilHealth members who are confined abroad, you must send the following documents via overseas courier or e-mail to the PhilHealth Regional Office or Local Health Insurance Office nearest the Overseas Filipino Worker’s Philippine address. You must submit the following documents within 180 calendar days from the date of discharge.
- Medical abstract or medical record or a copy of the Medical Certificate indicating the final diagnosis, confinement period and medical services rendered.
- A copy of the operative/operating record (if an operation was performed).
- Statement of account
- Official Receipt (OR) issued by the hospital and doctor
These documents must be written in English. You should also submit a properly filled out PhilHealth Claim Form 1.
If you are an OFW member or if any of your dependents is confined in the Philippines, you must fill out the PhilHealth Claim Form 1 and submit it to the Billing Section of the accredited hospital before being discharged.
How to Request PhilHealth Member Data Record (MDR)
To request for your PhilHealth Member Data Record, just email the following details to email@example.com:
- Last name, Full name, Middle name
- Date of Birth
You will receive a copy of your MDR immediately. You may also get a copy of your MDR at any PhilHealth office in the Philippines.
What if I have forgotten my PhilHealth Identification Number (PIN)?
To know your PIN, you may send a text message to 0917-5129149 or email the following info to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- LAST NAME
- FIRST NAME
- MIDDLE NAME
How to Update Membership Category
If you were previously a Voluntary Member and you are now an OFW, you can update your membership category by filling out the PMRF and present any the following documents:
- Valid Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC)
- Valid E-Receipt
- Valid Working Visa/Re-entry Permit
- Valid Job Employment Contract
- Valid Company ID issued by employer abroad
- Certificate of Employment for applicable period from employer abroad
- Cash remittance receipt from member abroad at least 2 months prior to the date of renewal/payment
- Valid ID/Certificate issued to OFWs in the host country (e.g. Iqama, HK ID, Soggiorno)
- Any other equivalent proof, subject to the approval of the authorized officer
How to Contact PhilHealth
What PhilHealth does is a great service for OFWs who work hard for the betterment of their families’ lives back home by making sure they are able to get covered whenever they are in need of medical services. While OFW can still use a lot more help even with that, at least their burdens can be made a bit lighter through this.
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