MANILA — Some five million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and dependents are now protected by the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth).
“We’ve so far signed up 2.52 million OFWs. Including their 2.48 million declared dependents, we now have around five million Filipinos covered by our Overseas Workers Program,” said Dr. Eduardo Banzon, Philhealth president and chief executive officer.
Under the program, Banzon said active land-based OFWs who went through the prescribed registration process of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) are enlisted as Philhealth members.
OFWs already abroad but not yet enrolled as Philhealth members may also register under the program, he said.
Sailors and other sea-based OFWs are considered locally employed members.
A growing number of OFWs, especially those with dependents, are joining Philhealth and securing themselves against the financial risks associated with devastating sickness in the family, Banzon said.
“They recognize that their premiums represent a small but essential investment meant to guarantee them some financial relief in the event of any ailment in the family,” he said.
“We are encouraging OFWs to pay their premiums for the entire duration of their job contracts abroad. This way, the OFW and dependents will be protected the whole time,” he added.
Philhealth provides subsidy for room and board, drugs and medicines, laboratory exams, as well as operating room and professional fees for hospital confinements of not less than 24 hours. It is also covering an increasing number of outpatient services, including day surgeries and treatment of tuberculosis.