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For less than P3.50 a day, PhilHealth vows enlarged benefits for OFWs June 27, 2012

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) has vowed to deliver higher benefit payments and improved services to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their dependents, in return for a contribution of less than P3.50 per day, or P1,200 yearly.

“The required annual contribution stays at P1,200 this year, or less than P3.50 per day, with respect to OFWs. Their adjusted premium of less than P7 daily, or P2,400 per annum, won't take effect until January next year,” said Dr. Eduardo P. Banzon, PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer.

“We are building up our capacity to provide greater value for money to our members – our customers, including OFWs. We are constantly enriching benefits and enhancing services,” Banzon stressed.

“Through enlarged benefit payments, we hope to entice a greater number of OFWs, particularly those already out of the country, to enlist as PhilHealth members,” he said.

Banzon also reiterated that OFWs may avail themselves of the annual premium rate of P1,200 should they opt to pay the full premium contribution for the next two to five years on or before December 31, 2012.

In any case, Banzon urged OFWs to pay their premiums at least for the entire duration of their job contracts abroad.

“This way, the OFW and his or her dependents will have peace of mind. They will be protected the whole time the principal PhilHealth member or family head is abroad,” he added.

At present, PhilHealth covers around 2.52 million OFWs plus 2.48 million of their dependents.

“Whether the contribution is P3.50 or P7 per day, this is really nothing much, considering that OFWs are essentially hedging themselves against unforeseen financial costs associated with sudden sickness in the family,” Banzon said.

“The amount represents a fairly small investment meant to guarantee the OFW and his or her dependents ample financial relief in the event of any ailment in the household, or even a wife's hospitalization due to childbirth,” he said.

PhilHealth helps pay for 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 is also covering an increasing number of outpatient services, including day surgeries and treatment of tuberculosis.

Qualified dependents of OFWs who are active PhilHealth members are entitled to a separate coverage of up to 45 days confinement per calendar year. However, the 45 days allowance is shared among all dependents.

Eligible dependents 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; and the OFW's parents who are 60 years old and above. (END)

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