Health Insurance in the Philippines
Medical costs in the Philippines may be a lot lower than most westerners are used to, but if you are paying these expenses out of pocket they can easily become a heavy burden on your personal finances, especially if you develop a chronic condition that requires long term treatment. The only way to truly protect yourself from the high medical costs around the world is with a health insurance plan. We can offer locally compliant international health insurance plans for the Philippines that are globally portable and guaranteed renewable for life, so that you can be assured no matter where you go in the future, you will have the quality protection that you deserve.
Health Insurance Cover for Expats in the Philippines
Most expats living in the Philippines will be used to the very high standards of western healthcare systems. In the Philippines, however, only a few hospitals based around the capital, Manila, are able to offer anything close to this standard of care. If you are anywhere else in the Philippines when you need emergency medical treatment, you will most probably need to be evacuated either to Manila, or to Singapore or Hong Kong as the healthcare infrastructure in most of the Philippines is quite rudimentary. For a comprehensive list of all public, private, and specialist hospitals here, check out our list of hospitals in the Philippines.
Philippine Health Insurance Plans that Offer Medical Evacuation Benefits
Evacuation is a benefit offered by most private health insurance companies, although it might not be offered as standard in all Philippine health insurance plans, it is almost always available as an optional benefit which you can add to your medical insurance cover. We strongly advise our clients in the Philippines to include evacuation cover on their health insurance policy. Medical evacuation is very expensive, and can be very difficult to arrange without the support of an experienced insurer.
Philippine Medical Insurance and Healthcare Overview
The Philippines has never been a country renowned for the state of its healthcare system, rather it is better known for the ever-increasing number of tourists it attracts. However, this may soon change. With many South East Asian countries playing the medical tourism game, the Philippines has decided that it needs to spruce up its healthcare services for Filipino nationals before it targets the lucrative overseas market.
Healthcare in the Philippines
In a step that is very much akin to developments in the USA, Filipino President Arroyo has set aside P3.5 Billion (approximately US$77 million) for the revitalization of the nations healthcare services. With a goal to providing approximately 23.5 million poor Filipinos with quality healthcare the National Insurance Health Program was slated to begin with the country's 2008 budget.
The Philippines has a history of unsuccessfully spending large amount of money on public welfare projects, however this time there could actually be a difference. The government is planning on shaping up the medical systems that focus on Filipino nationals and then using any excess revenue towards luring foreigners to Philippine hospitals for medical treatment.
The cost of healthcare in many western countries has risen dramatically in recent years and because of this, countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia have all seen large numbers of foreign nationals visiting for the sole purpose of receiving low cost, high quality healthcare. The Philippines however, has had to struggle with a widening wealth gap and a myriad of infectious diseases that are indigenous to the archipelago. These factors have combined to slow the growth of the country's healthcare system and stifle the ability of hospitals and clinics to retain their qualified staff as Filipino doctors and nurses are frequently being lured away from the country with promises of much higher paying contracts overseas.
In addition to this there are a number of other factors that have stunted the growth of the Philippine healthcare system, such as the government's inability to successfully regulate the privatization of many hospitals and clinics. This has led to a large amount of regulatory confusion and has scared a number of potential foreign investors away from the market. The World Health Organization has cited the Philippines as being one of the world's illegal organ trafficking hotspots.
This has not improved the already sordid reputation of the Philippines and its healthcare services. However, there is hope. With the new reforms proposed by the Philippine government in regards to creating quality healthcare for even the poorest of its citizens the country has started to move in the direction of positive reforms for healthcare. Across the board there is room for improvement, and the confusion that is inherent in the nation’s healthcare system can only serve to hinder the implementations of any further reforms.
Philippines Travel Tips
- The Philippines is a world-renowned travel destination. The country boasts serene white sand beaches, lush tropical rainforests and some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. It is for these reasons that the Philippines welcome millions of visitors each year. No matter if your visit to the country is for a short period of time, or you are expecting to be there for the foreseeable future, the Philippines may have laws and customs that are different from your home country. In order to make your trip to the country more pleasant we have provided some travel advice here. Please bear in mind that this advice is only meant to serve as a guide and that you should consult a professional before you travel.
- Due to the worldwide threat of terrorism travelers are advised to make their trip preparations accordingly. Always remain alert for official announcements and follow government instructions. Since October 2006 there have been a number of terrorist incidences in Mindanao province, accordingly travelers are advised not to visit this region until tensions have lessened.
- There is a high incidence of crime throughout the Philippines, especially in the major cities. Only use licensed taxis and transportation, keep all of your valuables locked in a safe and only carry copies of your important documentation (passports, drivers licenses, identification documents). Do not accept drinks or food from strangers as these may be laced with narcotics.
- Drugs are illegal in the Philippines. Do not get involved with drugs of any kind during your stay as possession of even small amounts can lead to severe penalties.
- There are a number of health threats in the Philippines. Malaria, including Malarial Encephalitis, Dengue fever, Yellow fever, and Rabies are all endemic to the country. There is also a strong threat of avian flu. In the event that you should fall ill consult a medical professional immediately. Seek medical advice before traveling to the Philippines to understand what precautions you should take.
- The Philippines is a risk for a number of natural disasters including typhoons, earthquakes, and volcano eruptions. In the event that a natural disaster occurs during your stay in the country, follow all official announcements and be vigilant for police, army, and rescue worker directions.
- The law regarding pedophile activity in the Philippines is very strict. Any individual under the age of 18 is considered a minor. Severe penalties can be enacted for cases of suspected child abuse or rape. There have also been cases of entrapment where strangers with children befriend foreign male tourists.
- In order to travel to the Philippines your passport must have a minimum of 6 months validity or you must have an ongoing ticket. Failure to meet these requirements may result in the refusal of admission into the country.
- Single parents traveling to the Philippines with their children must have a letter stating that they are legal guardians and as such they can support the children. This must be filed with the nearest Philippines embassy or Bureau or Immigration.
Philippine health insurance options
Due in part to the inconsistent quality of public healthcare in the Philippines, most expatriates will arrange their own private Philippine medical insurance plan to access world-class treatment in the nation's best private hospitals. Here are the main Philippine insurance options:
International medical insurance
International medical insurance gives you access to the best private hospital care not only in the Philippines, but virtually anywhere in the world. Most expats and global nomads prefer this form of insurance due to its superior, comprehensive benefits, and unique features not commonly offered by local health insurance plans (e.g. medical evacuation, lifetime renewability). Such plans are also highly customizable, allowing you to add optional extras like dental and maternity insurance cover. To get an idea of how much international health insurance costs in the Philippines, download our Cost of International Health Insurance 2020-2021 report for free.
Local Philippine health insurance
Another popular Philippine health insurance option is local private health cover available from local insurers. These plans offer higher benefit levels than travel insurance policies, and can be largely tailored around the local Philippine healthcare system.
If you only plan on traveling to the Philippines for a short period of time, a travel plan may be the option for you. Cheap and easy to secure, travel plans cover things like travel-related mishaps (e.g. lost baggage) and medical emergencies. These plans come with a number of limitations, however, such as low benefit limits and exclusions on pre-existing conditions.