PhilHealth reminds OFWs on premium increase
THE Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) reminds land-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) of the premium increase to be implemented in 2014.
OFWs have been paying P900 per year since 2005 when the Medicare functions of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration was transferred to PhilHealth.
In 2011, the PhilHealth Board approved a new premium rate for land-based OFWs under the Overseas Workers Program, pegging it at P2,400 per annum which was supposed to take effect in 2012. This would have been the lowest premium rate for all PhilHealth members, including the poorest of the poor whose premiums are paid for by a sponsor under the sponsored program.
After several consultations with OFW groups, PhilHealth deferred the full implementation of the new rate to provide ample time for OFWs to adjust. Instead of P2,400, their annual premium was set to P1,200 per year for 2012 and 2013.
Premium payments of P900 were accepted, but only for nine months. The P300 balance will be collected to complete one year’s worth of protection when they update their contribution for another one to five years.
OFWs are reminded to settle the P300 balance to avoid lapses in contribution and a possible suspension of benefit entitlement.
PhilHealth also encourages OFWs to pay their premiums for the entire duration of their job contracts abroad to ensure continuity of benefit coverage.
In 2012, PhilHealth’s benefit payments covering land-based OFWs and their dependents for local and overseas confinements reached 130.53 percent more than the premiums collected.
PhilHealth also increased its benefit packages with the introduction of Z benefits for catastrophic cases, and expanded its primary care benefit coverage to include OFWs and their dependents availing of services in health centers and rural health units.