SERVICE missions in at least 12 overseas locations, conducted over a five-month period, enabled the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to address the information and membership needs of overseas Filipino members.
A service mission is a three-day activity aimed at disseminating updated information on the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) to enable OFWs to sustain their PhilHealth membership. At the same time, the service missions are aimed at enrolling Filipinos from the target countries, increasing the premium collection, and expanding the marketing and advocacy linkages among the Filipino communities.
From March to July this year, composite teams from PhilHealth have conducted service missions in Singapore; Sabah, Malaysia; Doha, Qatar; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Surabaya, Indonesia; Hong Kong; Kuwait; Muscat, Salalah and Sohar in Oman; Manama, Bahrain; Chongqing, Chengdu and Kunming in China; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Seoul, South Korea.
Services offered during the service missions include printing and issuance of Member Data Records and PhilHealth Identification cards, updating of member’s information, distribution of information materials and corporate giveaways, and addressing individual inquiries of OFW-members. These service missions also enable PhilHealth to meet and network with various leaders and member organizations of OFWs in the countries visited.
A total of 4,859 inquiries were addressed, 4,639 requests for ID and MDR printing were accommodated, 1,725 requests for member data amendments were facilitated, and 444 PhilHealth ID numbers were assigned.
Among the common concerns raised in all the overseas missions was the clamor for PhilHealth’s permanent presence abroad, particularly in countries recently visited; the need for regular updating of information on membership and benefits; availability of information, education and communication (IEC) materials overseas; the need for more payment avenues; and the expensive cost of having confinement documents translated into English for claim reimbursement purposes.
The OFW-members suggested that online payment of premium contributions through credit cards be explored, and that a fund be set up to finance the PhilHealth premium payments of OFWs for one (1) year during medical repatriation. Majority of clients served also requested that service missions be done more frequently and with longer duration to accommodate more Filipinos seeking PhilHealth’s services.
In response to the feedback gathered during the service missions, the composite teams recommended the setting up of PhilHealth offices in cooperation with the Embassy and Filipino communities in OFW-dense countries; maintaining a database of members' electronic mail addresses and utilizing marketing text blasts in campaigns; for PhilHealth to look into the possibility of accrediting translators; and installing the PhilHealth Rapid Remittance and Disbursement System (PRRDS).
Isolated requests received included the posting of a PhilHealth representative in the Philippine Embassy in Singapore for easier transaction, participation in the bi-annual inter-agency service mission in Cambodia, and tapping Kuwait City as a possible location for a PhilHealth office in view of its size, location, cooperation of the Embassy and Filipino communities.