250,000 OFWs deprived of PhilHealth benefits

Posted at 06/29/12 1:49 AM

Manila, Philippines -  Some 250,000 Filipino workers abroad have been deprived of their Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) benefits due to the agency’s unreliable encoding procedure, a recruitment industry leader said Thursday.

“The encoding process by PhilHealth is three to four months late and this results in OFW dependents being denied health and hospital benefits since their names do not appear in the PhilHealth data bank,” recruitment leader Lito Soriano said.

Soriano noted that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) processes 75,000 contracts a month while PhilHealth cannot even process the papers of overseas Filipino workers.

He said the situation belies the claims of PhilHealth that OFWs could get more benefits by just paying P3.50 a day

“These OFWs are paying annual premium of P1,200 a year yet their dependents could not avail of the protection provided under PhilHealth,” he stressed.

He said PhilHealth data is only up to February, meaning benefits for OFWs have not been available since March.

He also said single OFWs whose parents are not yet 60 years old are excluded from the services of PhilHealth. “This is unfair for 40 percent of OFWs leaving each year as they pay for PhilHealth, but their parents who are their dependents cannot avail of the benefits,” Soriano said. He said amendments to laws on PhilHealth may have to be made to correct the situation.

Meanwhile, PhilHealth reported that only 36 percent of the towns and cities in the country have accredited Maternity Care Package (MCP).

In a statement, PhilHealth Accreditation Department head Dr. Narisa Sugay disclosed that only 607 of 1,646 municipalities and cities have at least one accredited MCP provider.

“Despite the increase in number, our assessment of distribution has revealed that only 607 out of 1,646 municipalities and cities have at least one accredited MCP provider. Clearly, much still needs to be done. But we are very much willing to streamline processes and provide necessary support to get more providers on board,” she said. – Mayen Jaymalin, Sheila Crisostomo