Published: March 11, 2018 | Updated: March 17, 2020 | Posted by: Venus Zoleta | Personal Finance
Are you ready financially for when you get sick or hospitalized abroad?
Without a health insurance, your savings may get depleted and your family may suffer financially when you’re hospitalized. You know how expensive medical bills are. Even if your overseas employer pays for your OFW health insurance, you can’t rely on that forever. How will you take care of your medical bills when your contract has ended and you’ve returned home?
So as early as now, get your OFW health insurance in place. Here are three ways to do that.
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Members of PhilHealth who are employed abroad may avail of OFW health insurance benefits when they’re confined in an accredited healthcare facility in the Philippines and abroad.
PhilHealth benefits for OFWs consist of the following:
OFWs can avail of PhilHealth benefits only if they meet these requirements:
If confined abroad:
OFWs (and even those with health insurance from their employers) or their family member may file a reimbursement claim at PhilHealth, except for confinements that take less than 24 hours. PhilHealth processes and pays claims within 60 working days.
Submit these documents to the nearest PhilHealth Regional Office or Local Health Insurance Office within 180 days after hospitalization:
If confined in the Philippines:
Submit the accomplished PhilHealth Claim Form 1 to the Billing Section of the hospital prior to discharge.
If you’re a member of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), you can avail of its medical assistance program for OFWs when you need more money to pay for your hospital bills.
The Supplemental Medical Assistance Program for OFWs—or MEDplus for short—provides a one-time financial assistance of up to PHP 50,000 to OWWA and PhilHealth members who are diagnosed of or hospitalized due to a dreaded disease while staying in the Philippines or working abroad.
This OWWA program covers medical and surgical procedures for dreaded diseases, including the following:
Although its benefits are comparable to an OFW health insurance, MEDplus is not a health maintenance organization (HMO) per se, according to OWWA. It serves as a supplement to an OFW’s PhilHealth benefits.
To avail of this OWWA financial assistance, submit the following documents to the nearest OWWA Regional Office:
OWWA takes three days to process a MEDplus application upon complete submission of requirements and confirmation of PhilHealth benefit payment.
PhilHealth benefits and OWWA’s MEDplus help ease your financial burden when you need to pay your hospital bills. But you can’t rely solely on these government agencies.
It takes time to receive your reimbursement from PhilHealth, and OWWA’s financial assistance is minimal compared to your total medical expenses. Their coverage may also be not as extensive as that of health insurance providers in the Philippines.
You need to have a back-up for when you get sick or hospitalized. Before it’s too late, get yourself an OFW health insurance plan that will get you covered even when you come back home and stay for good.
Some insurance firms offer health insurance products that cater specifically to OFWs. For example, AXA Philippines’s Health Exentials is an OFW health insurance plan that provides PHP 5 million worth of medical benefits, covering 35 critical illnesses, including cancer, stroke, and heart disease.
Another insurance company in the Philippines, BPI-Philam, has a unit-linked health and life insurance plan called the Critical Care Max that provides medical reimbursement and hospital confinement benefits.
You’ve probably prepared for any medical emergency in your family back home. That’s good, but it isn’t enough. You must also protect yourself against financial setbacks due to an illness, accident, or disability that could send you back home. That’s what an OFW health insurance is for.