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Our healthcare costs have approached a little over 1100 US Dollar since moving to the Philippines in July 2009. Not a substantial amount considering those expenses have included a couple of emergency room visits, one of which was for a kidney stone attack I suffered in February 2010. This past Wednesday  my asawa and I were enrolled in the Philippine government-sponsored health insurance program, PhilHealth. It is  available to Filipinos and their dependents (foreign spouses included.)

Healthcare Costs in the Philippines. We Finally Enroll in PhilHealth

I have  excuse for not having my spouse sign up for this plan (only P1200 a YEAR for both of us) when we first retired to the Philippines. I will just blame it on pure laziness, and the fact that I am adjusting to Filipino Time more and more. If not for my wife’s asking me about it last week, we probably still wouldn’t be enrolled.

We have health care insurance from AT&T, where I retired with full benefits,  after almost 30 years of service, but I can’t use it in the Philippines. But it doesn’t cost me anything, and if we ever have the need for any major surgery, we’ll just have to fly to the States to take advantage of it.  

Another retirement benefit I have from my former employer, is called a Health Reimbursement Account, HRA, in which AT&T pays me for any medical expenses not covered by my insurance. Since I have not been able to use my medical plan in the Philippines, as mentioned earlier, I have been reimbursed for over 1,100 USD worth of claims. A total of $2,000 was deposited in this HRA from AT&T so I have over 800 dollars to draw from it yet.

Only takes up three weeks for the payment from the HRA to be directly deposited in my bank account in the States, so that was another excuse for my delay in having my asawa sign up for PhilHealth.

Just What is PhilHealth?

Just what is PhilHealth? According to Wikipedia, The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) was created in 1995 with the aim of placing a renewed emphasis on achieving universal coverage. In 2010 PhilHealth reported it that had enrolled 86% of all Filipinos.

This social insurance program  serves as the means for the healthy to help pay for the care of the sick and for those who can afford medical care to subsidize those who cannot (we less fortunate family members in the Philippines who do not have to pay anything for this program.) Both local and national government agencies allocate funds to subsidy the indigent.

After being admitted to Great Saviour International Hospital in February 2010 for my kidney stone attack,  we had to pay a 10,000 peso deposit upfront before I could even be admitted. This is standard practice with the majority of hospitals in the Philippines.

I am advised by my asawa, that even with PhilHealth, we will still have to pay those upfront costs for any possible future hospital admissions. But we will be reimbursed by the program for a portion of those expenses depending on the illness we would be treated for. The plan also covers certain medical procedures. For only 1200 pesos a year, I don’t see how we can go wrong.

I simply downloaded the membership form at the health insurance company’s website, only one page in length and simple to fill out. Attached a NSO, National Statistic Office, copy of our marriage contract and my wife’s birth certificate along with her Philippine passport for ID and a copy of my ACR-I card, Alien Certificate of Registration.

Signing up for PhilHealth

Took the form to the local regional office in Iloilo City located near Robinsons and right next to the Santa Teresita Church.  In less than 15 minutes my asawa had her new PhilHealth card with me as a covered dependent.

We just went to the Kodak photo shop in the  nearby Robinsons and had a 1″x1″ photo (for 60 pesos, 12 pics)  taken that she affixed to the card and had the entire thing laminated for 6 pesos. That whole photo process took twice as long as it did to obtain the actual card itself from PhilHealth.

I was extremely impressed by the fast service and efficiency of the local office. My asawa actually paid for an additional year, 2013, in advance, with the cost being so reasonable. 2400 pesos for almost two years worth of healthcare insurance? That’s only 120 bottles of Red Horse but probably a much better investment. I’m sure my spouse would agree with that statement.

14 thoughts on “Healthcare Costs in the Philippines. We Finally Enroll in PhilHealth

  1. Dave, yet another attractive reason to retire to the Philippines!

    Randy, yes you can pick your own nurse, I did and after that silly fiancee visa I brought her to the US and married her! (most would consider my nurse more fortunate looking than the one from chickbabes posted above) and I get to see the faces of my friends after they ask “where is she from?” because I tell them the truth, she is from Zamboanga! Sorry for being a bragger.

    1. Ahh Zamboanga – home to my favorite Filipina Singer – Demz Espinosa from Maldita! I’d drag my balls through ten miles of broken glass just to hear her piss in a tin cup over the telephone!

      1. HAHA Dave. That’s an old quote from Steven Tyler of Aerosmith that I remember reading years ago. I forget who he was talking about.
        Yeah, I was watching that video earlier today. Funny that you posted the same one. Demz is the girl on the left – no makeup – just with the voice of an angel. I first saw Maldita on ASAP Rocks last May. Demz was wearing these hip hugger jeans and a shirt tied around her waist – wicked sexy, all made up and looking pretty. I searched YouTube for that video and the only one on there from that show (that I could find) was one that someone obviously recorded of their tv set while watching the show. Oh well, better than nothing. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KU7smG1GpgM

        1. Oh yeah and by the way, thanks for posting this about PhilHealth, you made me check with my wife about her parents. I wanted to make sure they had insurance. Her mom’s had some health issues lately and we’ve helped with the medical bills. I just wanted to make sure they did have insurance, and they do – through her dad’s retirement plan from his previous employer.

      2. Maldita plays a lot around Manila supposedly because their management is based there. Trying to figure a way to fit that into our travel plans this summer. I believe they play every Wednesday ) what my wife tells me). I know they do travel around and have done mall concerts. Found some videos of those on YouTube as well.
        I’d love to manage this band though – just to tell them to play some more rocking songs. The balads are pretty but they have a couple of more “rocking” songs, but need more.

      3. Paul, I have this theory about Zamboanga: it may be a little more risky to visit, but I think there is something in the water because so many beautiful women seem to come from there?

        1. Dave, please do. We (the viewing audience) will study such an article very closely, science and geography require it! AND don’t forget the entertainment value (we want pictures too!)

  2. Dave, thanks a lot for the update about Philhealth, if my memory serves me right, that was the Pag-ibig Health Program in the 90’s. That’s one of the important things I will do when I ‘ll go home, to apply for Philhealth membership. It’s a great help for us. You help a lot of Ilonggos especially those planning to retire in the Philippines. Godbless.

  3. Dave,
    Thanks so much for the info about Philhealth. Will probably get that along with a private policy. Dave Starr posted some healthcare providers on his site awhile back and there was one that covered just the Philippines for approximately $1200.00 per year and for anywhere in the world for $1900.00 per year. They seem to cover alot. Take care my friend

  4. I kept on coming back checking and re-reading this article Dave because who knows I might just stumble upon the name of that pretty nurse you have here hahaha

  5. hi dave. good day. i have an online american boyfriend and he plans to come home here to live. he have health problems so i need to make sure he’ll get proper care once he gets here. are there anymore health insurance company that you know we can apply to?

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