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PhilHealth Z Benefit Saves Lives! September 17, 2013

"Thank you PhilHealth for being a channel of blessing in my life even in adverse circumstances."

These are the very words of Ms. Lucia D. Josol, 43 years old and a resident of Davao City in a letter she sent PhilHealth. She is a member of PhilHealth under the Employed sector and an employee of a private school in the said city.

When she was diagnosed of breast cancer sometime in June 2012, the thought of leaving her son and a pastor husband made her decide to undergo medication. Despite her financially-challenged condition she opted to undergo treatment because according to her "money should never be a hindrance in my desire to go through medical procedures". In her hope to lengthen her life for her family and free herself from worries, she submitted herself patiently to the doctors of Southern Philippine Medical Center (SPMC), a government hospital in Davao and one of the 20 PhilHealth-contracted hospitals countrywide with proven expertise in treating the disease.

Fortunately for Ms. Josol, the PhilHealth Type-Z Package was launched in July of 2012. The said package includes treatment for breast cancer amounting to P100,000.00 just in time for her medication. The said benefit aims primarily to assist members with illnesses that are considered economically and medically catastrophic.

Despite some implementation glitches, Ms. Josol was among the 85 patients nationwide who benefited from the said package. From the P 41,215,000 benefit payment for PhilHealth Type Z Packages covering prostate cancer, acute lymphocytic leukemia, breast cancer and kidney transplant, 6% or P 7,000,000 is paid for breast cancer claims. It was in August 28, 2012 when she had partial mastectomy on her left breast. She started her 6-cycle chemotherapy in October of the same year and finished the same in February 2013. To this date she religiously attends to her check-up every two months.

According to the Philippine Society of Medical Oncology, breast cancer has now overtaken lung cancer as the most prevalent form of cancer in the country. The Philippines is now the leading country in Asia with the most number of breast cancer cases. Statistically, three out of 100 Filipino women will get breast cancer before the age of 75 and one out of 100 Filipino women will die before the age of 75.

This is why PhilHealth President and CEO Alexander A. Padilla, in a statement, said that, "We encourage all members and dependents with early stage breast cancer to avail of the P100,000 benefit package under our PhilHealth's Type Z- package. The amount shall cover the cost of treatment, hospitalization and professional fees."

Breast cancer management requires submission of members to treatment as well as its early detection. Also, members in the far-flung areas need not go to Manila as there are 20 PhilHealth-contracted hospitals countrywide where people can seek treatment. Further, other breast cancer cases that will not qualify under the PhilHealth Type Z Package shall still be paid under a different payment mechanism.

"I really appreciate and thank you so much for the Z Package Program because you have eased the burden of so many Filipinos and patients undergoing the same illness as me. God bless and may you continually serve wholeheartedly" added Josol. (END)

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