As a foreigner, how to take care of your health in the Philippines
Foreigners don't have to worry
The Philippines is made up of caring and kindly people. This is what I quote from the comments of expatriate living in the Philippines.Are we going to find health care in the country that provide the beast caring nurse for all the globe? It is not verbal overkill to say that "Without Filipino doctors, nurses, midwives and care assistants, medical institutions in the US and many other countries would collapse".
There is much more variability in quality of health care provided In the Philippines.But over all, foreigners don't have to worry, they will find the health care they need by the so many private or government health service providers.
Health threats in the Philippines
To Have good care of your health, any foreigner has to know the health threats in the Philippines to avoid exposure, take the proper measures for prevention and know how to seek advice if exposed to any.
Dengue, Malaria, Typhiod and weils diseases are the most known health threats in the Philippines
Dengue (Mosquito-borne) is endemic in the Philippines. Malaria is a constant threat to the travellers. No vaccine is available for both of them. The foreigner must be careful, cover up, use repellent and a mosquito net. Typhoid and cholera (water-borne diseases) are also endemic in the Philippines. Vegetables must be washed properly. You must use only bottled or boiled water.
Leptospirosis, also known as Weil’s disease, transmitted by rats and some other animals. It maybe lethal but penicillin is effective and recovery is normally complete.
Looking for doctors and medicines in the Philippines
We must not expect that medical services in the 7,000 islands that make up the Philippines are all adequate. It is very variable , but you can find doctors in private clinics or in hospitals in most of the towns of the Philippines. There are so many hospitals in the Philippines , either government hospitals or private. About 2,000 hospitals where 60% are private operate in the Philippines. Both private and public hospitals provide quality health services. Government hospitals provide quality healthcare the same way private hospitals do. But the private hospitals maybe more presentable and cleaner.
If you are looking for a doctor for any health issue, it is advisable that you ask for the suggestions of local friends. Some clinics require booking for an appointment .But generally you can visit a doctor or dentist without appointment, you can just go during their clinic hours.
Pharmacies and drug stores are every where in the Philippines. Mercury drug is the biggest drug store chain in the Philippines with branches every where in the country. Philippines offers a discount 20% on medicines for senior citizens who are 60 years or older. Anyone above 60, including foreigners can also avail that discount.
Health Insurance is the best option for expats in Philippines
For foreigners planning to settle in the Philippines, they must consider health insurance as an option for their health care. health care system in the Philippines is available with many options and affordable plans costs. Expats really never have to worry that much with a health insurance plan as they will find doctors, nurses, hospitals any time they need. Having an expat health insurance will give the foreigner peace of mind that he will have health services immediately in case something unexpected happens.
Philhealth (Philippine Health Insurance Corporation) one of the most known health companies that offers the cheapest health insurance for both locals and expats.
Philhealth provides inpatient and outpatient coverage with reimbursements of allowable limits released within 60 days after submission of requests and required documents. It is not very much but will definitely help pay medical bills.
Maxicare Health Care, Insular Health Care, Blue Cross Philippines and Fortune Care are some of the health care providers for individuals in the country.
The US medical insurance program for the elderly, Medicare, does not cover care in the Philippines. Some US veterans can receive care through VA clinics. Some retiree medical insurance programs will reimburse you for care paid for in the Philippines. A very limited number of Philippine hospitals accept US Blue Cross Insurance. One is Asian Hospital in Alabang, a southerly suburb of Manila. If you’re well enough and are covered by Medicare, you can return to the US for treatment.
Things that you should consider to choose an expat health insurance
The cost (which varies from one person to another) is one of the first things to consider. This will depend on four things: the age, type of coverage , location and the existing health status of the person. These actually are the factors that determine the plan cost whether for any person.
Check the terms and policy of the insurance company. are you allowed choose your own doctor or do you just have to go to the doctors and hospitals that are affiliated with the health insurance company? How to file health insurance claims and when they are paid back to you. PhilHealth is supposed to refund claims within 60 days. But this deadline has not always been met by many insurance companies.
Choose trusted insurance company that you may know from friends and the consulate or embassy of the country. The longer the company in business the more to be trusted.
Top hospitals in the Philippines
Hospitals in Manila and some other cities are up to Western standards, with US-trained personnel and equipment to match. In rural areas health services and hospitals are at the other end of the spectrum.
Top hospitals are UP-Philippine General Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Asian Eye Institute, Manila Doctors Hospital, Makati Medical Center and Cardinal Santos Medical Center, St. Lukes Hospital among others. Some hospitals but not all accept Foreign credit cards.
Most of the reputable hospitals are located in Manila but other cities in the country have medical service providers with modern facilities and qualified doctors and nurses as well.
Communication is not a problem, as most of Filipinos can talk and understand English enough to communicate with any foreigner. Of course, doctors, nurses and medical staff are fluent in English.