Filipinos in Hong Kong will soon benefit from services of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) when the state agency launches a regular representative mission there.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the representative mission will spearhead information assistance, how to avail of benefits and membership registration services.
"The PhilHealth official, who will be in Hong Kong for two weeks every quarter, will perform her duties for the first time on 03-16 August," the DFA said in its website (www.dfa.gov.ph).
It said PhilHealth and consular officials will hold an open forum and presentation at the Bayanihan Center in Kennedy Town at 2 p.m. on Aug. 2, Sunday.
PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Dr. Rey Aquino said the move is in response to the clamor of OFWs for PhilHealth to bring its services closer to its members.
He said the PhilHealth is taking this initial step to partially address the PhilHealth needs of hardworking Filipinos in Hong Kong.
“Eventually, we hope to replicate this initiative in other countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and even the Middle East where a lot of OFWs earn a living for their families," he said.
Aquino said the PhilHealth representative will be in Hong Kong to provide continuing information dissemination to Filipinos, particularly on claims processing and membership renewal.
He added the official will also address the concerns of PhilHealth members regarding the timely payment of their premiums.
“The representative will also attend OFW gatherings or meetings and coordinate with Filipino organizations in Hong Kong to facilitate the conduct of information campaigns on PhilHealth membership," he said.
Also, he said the PhilHealth official could also entertain reimbursement claims of members with expenses incurred in Hong Kong hospitals.
OFW statistics show that there are approximately 150,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong employed in the entertainment, commercial and household service sectors.
Under PhilHealth’s Overseas Workers Program (OWP), OFWs must pay their annual premium prior to deployment to ensure that they have the appropriate health insurance coverage should they be confined overseas.
“Through their membership, actively paying OFWs also ensure that their family members in the Philippines are similarly covered by PhilHealth, meaning, they can avail themselves of the hospitalization benefits should the need arise," Aquino said.
Among the inpatient benefits that the families of OFWs may avail themselves of in the Philippines are allowances for hospital room and board fees up to Php 1,035 per day for a maximum of 45 days per year, allowances for drugs and medicines up to P35,655 per single period of confinement, x-ray and other laboratory fees up to P29,430 per single period of confinement, use of operating room, and subsidies for professional fees of attending physicians.
Such benefits are available in over 1,600 PhilHealth-accredited hospitals all over the country, Aquino said.
An enhanced outpatient benefit package that includes consultations, diagnostic, promotive and curative health services is also available for OFWs and their legal dependents through 42 DOH-retained hospitals in the country.
These benefits include complete blood count, routine urinalysis, fecalysis, fasting blood sugar, electrocardiogram, Hepatitis B screening, among others.
OWP has registered almost two million OFWs working in different countries abroad.
“We hope to further capture the rest of the OFW population to make sure that they are adequately covered by our health insurance program," Aquino said. - GMANews.TV