They say health is wealth. That’s true. Even if you are earning a lot from your work abroad, you still need to take care of your health because you might end up using all of your hard-earned money to pay for medical bills. This is why many people are pushing the importance of health insurance especially for Overseas Filipino workers because life can be uncertain.
The next question is this: where can you get a health insurance, or at least medical assistance, that is designed specifically for OFWs?
OWWA’s MEDplus for OFWs
This is offered to OFWs who are both OWWA and Philhealth members. This Supplemental Medical Assistance Program for OFWs, or MEDplus, is a one-time financial assistance of up to P50,000 for OFWs who were diagnosed of or hospitalized as a result of a dreaded disease, either in the Philippines or while working overseas.
Dreaded diseases include but not limited to:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Ischemic heart disease
Below are the documents you need to submit:
- Completely filled out MEDplus application form
- Proof of OWWA membership contribution
- 1 passport size photo
- Philhealth Benefit Payment Notice (BPN)
- Waiver allowing Philhealth to access information, including medical records for processing of MEDplus
- Notarized SPA in case the benefit will be processed by any family member on behalf of the OFW
You can learn more about MEDplus here.
Philhealth Benefits for OFWs
Apart from MEDplus, OFWs who are also Philhealth members may receive help from the government provided that you are a registered Philhealth member, has updated Philhealth Member Data Record, membership is within the validity period, and the availment doesn’t exceed the 45-day benefit limit every year for hospital room and board allowance.
- Inpatient – Hospital charges and doctor’s professional fees
- Outpatient – Radiotherapy, blood transfusion, hemodialysis, major and minor outpatient surgery, and other primary care benefits
- MDG-related – Select medical services for treatment of HIV/AIDS, surgical contraception, malaria, tuberculosis, and animal bites
- Z benefits – Breast cancer, leukemia, prostate cancer, and the like
Here’s how you can avail of your Philhealth benefits:
If confined in the Philippines,
Simply submit the accomplished Philhealth Claim Form 1 to the hospital’s Billing Section before discharge.
If confined outside the Philippines,
Submit the following documents to the nearest Philhealth Regional Office or Local Health Insurance Office within 180 days after you were hospitalized:
- Accomplished Philhealth Claim Form 1
- Medical abstract/record/certificate indicating the medical services given, final diagnosis, and confinement period
- Operative record if surgery was conducted
- Official receipts issued by the health facility or doctor
- Statement of Account
Take note that the confinement should be MORE THAN 24 hours, otherwise, you cannot qualify for this benefit.
Health Insurance Plans for OFWs
Aside from the government agencies, there are several health insurance companies that offer insurance plans specifically for OFWs. These insurance plans were designed with you on mind by providing products that will help address sudden and unfortunate circumstances.
For instance, BPI-Philam has a facility called Critical Care Max, which provides hospital confinement and medical reimbursement benefits. AXA Philippines also has Health Exentials product, which is an OFW health insurance plan worth up to P5 million medical benefits and covers 35 critical illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
These medical benefits are important but at the end of the day, one thing matters: your commitment to health. Get some rest, sleep when you can, and avoid taking excessive jobs that are too much for your body. All of those dollars are not worth it if you spend it on hospitalization and maintenance.