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Health is wealth, as the saying goes. And with the rising cost of medical services and procedures, maintenance medicines and health insurances, this adage truly never gets old.

To help Filipinos receive the appropriate health care they deserve, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) was established by the government.

Philhealth is the premier health insurer in the country and mandated to provide social health insurance benefits and services to all Filipinos. The cost to be a member and enjoy such services is only roughly P1,800 / year. This amount already covers hospitalization expenses for the paying member and his dependents (children below 18 years old, parents 60 years old and above).

Further, Philhealth coverage is not limited to employed and “paying” members only. As a social insurance firm, the agency is driven to ensure universal health coverage for all Filipinos, even those, and especially those, that are not listed as “paying” members. The government subsidizes the membership of people identified as poor by the DSWD and LGUs so they too can be covered by Philhealth.

We are all in this together.

In February 2015, Philhealth declared that they have successfully listed 82% of the country’s population, as members. That is about 81.63 million Filipinos assured of health insurance, whether employed or not. Philhealth’s challenge is to reach out to the remaining 19% un-enrolled population; various initiatives are being studied to make the enrollment and membership process and requirements simpler and easier for all.

In the same year, Senior Citizens (60 years old and above) have been granted automatic membership to Philhealth; the government shoulders their annual premium contribution.

Philhealth vs. Private Health Insurance Companies

Private insurance firms are shifting to a new business model and their clients are now required to acquire Philhealth membership prior to signing up a policy with them. They maintain that the first peso spent for a member’s hospitalization shall be derived from Philhealth; anything above the Philhealth cap is shouldered by the private insurance company. This gives members an “additional” medical coverage, allowing the working class an increased edge in the fight against escalating health care costs.

Philhealth and private health insurance companies work together all for the benefit of its members.

Health Care Facilities and Professional Accreditation

While there is no law mandating doctors and health care specialists to seek accreditation from Philhealth, most, if not all, accredited hospitals require their physicians to be accredited. You will know that a hospital or clinic is Philhealth accredited by the Philhealth signage displayed in its receiving area as well as its streamers and billboards. Patients are encouraged to find out if the doctor being assigned to them is Philhealth accredited.

Philhealth is Online!

To know more about Philhealth membership or to access your Philhealth records, visit their website at www.philhealth.gov.ph. Make sure your Member Data Records are up-to-date and your beneficiaries’ and dependents’ information are correct. Claiming your benefits is much easier when your records are free from errors and corrections.

Getting sick and growing old are inevitable facts of life. Make sure you are prepared for both.  If you aren’t a member of Philhealth yet, you can enroll online and begin paying your contributions.