The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. has paid more than P4.5-billion worth of hospitalization and medical benefits to land-based overseas Filipino workers and their dependents since it absorbed the Medicare program of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in 2005, a press release from PhilHealth said.
Dr. Eduardo Banzon, Philhealth president and chief executive officer, said that, from 2005 to 2011, Philhealth actually returned to registered OFWs 100 percent of their premium contributions, plus more, by way of benefit payments. In 2011 alone, the utilization rate was 132 percent over premiums collected from OFWs the same year.
A 1995 Philippine law mandates compulsory Philhealth membership for all Filipino citizens, including OFWs, to ensure health insurance protection for all, and “to avoid adverse selection and social inequity,” the press release said.
“OFWs who left the country prior to 2005 are not automatically covered, but we have accredited partners overseas, as well as a virtual office, to process their membership, including renewal, and to provide support services," Banzon also said.
Qualified dependents of OFWs who are active Philhealth members are entitled to a separate coverage of up to 45 days hospital confinement per calendar year.
The 45 days allowance is shared among all dependents, the press release said.
Eligible dependents include the OFW’s spouse who is not a Philhealth member, or whose membership is inactive; the OFW’s children below 21 years of age, unmarried and unemployed; and the OFW’s parents 60 years old and above, it added.
Banzon also said covered OFWs will be fully protected by Philhealth for free once they reach 60 years old and stop paying premium contributions.
“Once an OFW turns 60, and has remitted a total of at least 120 monthly premium contributions, even if paid discontinuously, he or she will enjoy Philhealth coverage, absolutely free, for the rest of his or her natural life,” he said.*