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PhilHealth: Foreigner Married to Filipina Update

PhilHealth is the national health insurance plan of the Philippines. My wife, a Filipino citizen, first enrolled in the program in 2012, three years after we  had retired to the Philippines. The cost at that time was 1,200 pesos, approximately 24 US dollars, a year. As her legally recognized spouse, I was also included in the coverage at no additional cost as a dependent.

PhilHealth Foreigner Married to Filipina Update

My asawa enrolled in PhilHealth as a “voluntary” member. As a dependent, my name is listed under my wife’s Member Data Record, MDR. My spouse is the principal member. Again, I am the dependent.

The MDR must include my name in order to ensure hassle-free benefits. As my wife’s legal spouse a Marriage Contract/Certificate and my Alien Certificate of Registration ACR-I Card were submitted as proof of our marriage.

However, due to conflicting information on the World Wide Web, many expats, such as myself, were led to believe that ALL FOREIGNERS would have to pay 17,000 pesos a year, 340 US dollars, if they wanted to be covered under PhilHealth regardless of whether you are married to a Filipina or not.

This new payment increase for foreigners was announced on the PhilHealth website and was said to be effective on July 1, 2017.

HOWEVER, THIS IS NOT THE CASE.

My wife and I were in Iloilo City the other day in order to facilitate a wire transfer to the States (more on that later.) At the time, my wife wanted to renew her membership in PhilHealth for another two years. Though I didn’t want to be covered due to the supposed rate increase for foreigners, at 2,400 pesos (the rate increase we paid a few years ago), it was still a bargain for my spouse. I have other healthcare options available to me as a retiree of AT&T.

After our wire transfer was completed and a brief lunch at Shakey’s Pizza, we headed over to Robinsons Place Iloilo, located at Quezon-De Leon Streets. This main Robinsons mall has several government offices including PhilHealth.

As I sat in a row of creaky plastic chairs waiting for my wife, my asawa came over to me and informed me that I would still have coverage on her PhilHealth plan as a foreigner for the same cost as before…2,400 pesos a year.

No Price Increase for Foreigners Married to Filipina

However, when my wife went over to the nearby PhilPost facility to pay for her two-year PhilHealth renewal, I sauntered over to the PhilHealth kiosk to verify my spouse’s information.

It’s not that I doubted what my better half had told me, I needed verification of this information directly from the source. I’m an American. That’s what I do. Ask questions.

The exchange went something like this:

“Ma’am, my wife tells me that as a foreigner I am still covered under her PhilHealth plan as her dependent at the same cost. I was under the impression that the cost for any foreigner had increased to 17,000 pesos a year.”

“Yes, sir, you are covered for the same cost. At this time there is no extra charge” the PhilHealth civil servant replied.

Now, could the phrase “at this time” mean there could be a change in the policy in the future? That’s always possible.

Nevertheless, what I can say, is that my wife’s receipt from PhilHealth shows that the cost for two years is still only 4,800 pesos, 2,400 pesos a year,  and that I am listed as a qualified dependent under my wife’s plan.

So if you’re a foreigner married to a Filipina and haven’t signed up for PhilHealth due to the perceived price increase for foreigners, you might just want to go to your local PhilHealth office and check it out. For less than 50 bucks a years, it’s an amazing bargain.