Pasig City – The holidays are fast approaching. After coasting through vast seas for months, or sometimes years, Filipino seafarers longed to be ashore and be reunited with their beloved. Barely contained excitement coursed through their veins as their anticipation grew.
Faces streaked with tears of joy were a common sight to behold in these occasions. Sheer, unabashed euphoria was an understatement; the gravity of being away for so long vanished instantly in that single moment of reunion.
Unfortunately, though, these moments were short-lived. After just a couple of months in the bosom of their loving families, the seafarers were summoned anew for a tour of duty.
PhilHealth seized this “in-between” opportunity to educate them on the various programs, benefits, and services of the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP).
The Overseas Filipinos Program (OFP) Office and PhilHealth Regional Office (PRO) – National Capital Region (NCR) had put their efforts together to address the needs of Filipino seafarers. The event, billed as “Seafarer, Kapartner Ka ng PhilHealth” did not only allow seafarers to update their membership information, but also served as a reminder of the value of sustaining their membership with PhilHealth.
The day-long activity was opened by the OFP Senior Manager, Chona S. Yap. She emphasized the importance of PhilHealth in the lives of the Filipinos, especially to the families left behind by the seafarers. Invited to this affair were representatives of manning agencies in the NCR.
Yap highlighted the fact that a single PhilHealth membership guarantees access to quality health care for the entire family. Entitlements of the primary member are extended to a legal spouse, child or children who have yet to reach the age of majority, and parent/s with a permanent disability.
Further reinforcing the seafarers’ familiarity of the benefits and services of PhilHealth was Dr. Bernadette C. Lico, OIC-Branch Manager of PRO NCR-South. In a detailed presentation, Lico imparted vital concepts of the NHIP. Using a precise outline, she got across a very important message to the attendees: Keep your membership active in order to enjoy the full benefits offered by PhilHealth.
Lico then presented the numerous benefits that an active member can take advantage of; and their qualified dependents. From the case rates payment scheme to the Z Benefits accorded to catastrophic illnesses, she went to great lengths in discussing the policies ensuring uninterrupted entitlement to social health insurance coverage. Citing issuances on sufficient regularity of premium payment and single period of confinement, she gave the attendees a clearer understanding of the safeguards of PhilHealth benefit dispensation.
The activity drew a respectable crowd, which obtained further enlightenment as Lico provided clarifications to the issues clouding their perception of the NHIP. Apart from obtaining updated Membership Data Records (MDRs), the participants left the venue armed with knowledge pertinent to their roles and responsibilities as members of PhilHealth.
PhilHealth Interim/OIC-President and CEO Dr. Celestina Ma. Jude P. de la Serna, who also represents the Filipino Overseas Workers on the PhilHealth Board of Directors, reminded seafarers of a fundamental duty as members of PhilHealth. They must continue paying for their premiums while ashore and awaiting a contract from their respective agencies, preserving their rights to NHIP assistance when needed.
“Seafarer, Kapartner Ka ng PhilHealth” was only one of the various programs of PhilHealth which was intended to reach out to its members and stakeholders with the end-view of realizing the true essence of inclusion to the NHIP: Know your rights and seek out what you deserve.
Programs such as this are successful because of the active participation of every Filipino, regardless of socioeconomic differences. You, me, all of us are the most crucial factors in the achievement of Universal Health Care (UHC). Together, UHC shall not remain as an ideal, but a testament to PhilHealth’s contribution in attaining a life of prosperity and equality through social health care.
There are limitations in reaching out to all Filipinos, but if everyone actively pursues NHIP coverage, no one will be left behind as the country marches en route to a clear, loving, and secured future.
PhilHealth outdoes itself once again by eliminating another threat to the fruition of UHC: members’ inability to maintain an active participation in the NHIP while abroad. Recently, the PhilHealth Board approved to set up shop in Hongkong, benefiting a huge number of OFWs based in the autonomous territory. Quintessential PhilHealth public service is to be enjoyed by Filipinos here: straightforward, efficient, and determined.
We are here for you.
Call us at our 24/7 Corporate Action Center Hotline, (02) 441-7442 for your inquiries, suggestions, and concerns. Alternatively, you may send an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please follow us on Twitter (@teamphilhealth) and Facebook (facebook.com/PhilHealth) for PhilHealth updates. (END) (JJ Rico)
(Reference: Dr. Israel Francis A. Pargas, Head Executive Assistant and Concurrent OIC-Vice President for Corporate Affairs Group, Cel No. 0917-8089399)