Medical insurance, Medicare, Health insurance in the Philippines for expats

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This post consists of three pages. On the bottom you will find links to the next pages.

Medical insurance a must

One of the first and most asked questions from people who want to move and stay in the Philippines is about their health and the insurance to cover the expenses. In the Philippines there’s no obligation (by law) to have a medical insurance or Medicare as it’s also called. Everybody is free to have one or not. Although the Philippine government is promoting their people to have a medical insurance, only few have it actually. Only some (but not all) who are employed have one. People, who don’t have stable jobs, mostly do not have medical insurances.
I have been surfing on the internet for my readers and found a lot of information about Medical insurance. Feel free to read it and ask quotations on the firms I’ve linked on these pages. I must say that I don’t have experiences with all of them; I only asked quotations from a few of them.

  • I have collected a few statements from people who have medical insurance as their business. I’m including them in this blog.
  • Links to a lot of Medical Insurance companies are placed at the end of this blog post

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International Medical insurance companies are quite expensive. A few local companies offer cheaper solutions but also do not cover all expenses. After ample considerations my wife and I decided to take the cheapest we could find to cover the basics and save some money on a special account for emergency issues. This cheapest medical insurance is a Government Supported company: PhilHealth (see link below). The premium we are paying is only 100 150 (as per january 1, 2013) pesos a month for the two of us. The coverage is not very high but you will not have to pay in advance in hospitals in case of emergency. Aside from that we have saved (and still are adding) some money to cover emergencies or severe illnesses.

Medical Insurance - expatinthephilippines.comChecklist when asking for quotation Some of the crucial comparisons people need to make between health care policies:

  • Does the provider have local claims units with authority to settle claims?
  • Is there a age limit to enter?
  • Is a reputable carrier used with a strong rating?
  • Repatriation is an essential area in cases of severe ill health – does the cover allow the whole family to travel together if required?
  • What cover is provided for chronic conditions – is this available as an optional benefit and is there a limit placed on the cover?
  • What GP services are available in the specific country and are adequate levels supplied in the policy?
  • Does the client play sport and if so, physiotherapy cover should be included. Check too for any dangerous sport exclusions.
  • Are quality telephone help lines provided as part of the cover?
  • Is the cover portable – can the provider arrange for a seamless transfer of cover if the policyholder moves between countries?
  • If the policyholder has a high level of savings, a product with a large excess could be considered – check if these are available.
  • If the client has limited funds, is a top-up plan available if some state care is available?
  • If maternity cover could be required, check out the cover offered.
  • Are alternative treatments available?
  • Can dental cover be arranged either as a separate policy or an add-on?

International Health Insurance Options for Expatriates by Wayne Sakamoto

Summary: Wayne Sakamoto explains why expatriates need specialized insurance and how to choose it.

Expatriate travelers are highly encouraged to purchase international health insurance when traveling and / or residing outside their home country. For most individuals, private medical insurance, government sponsored health coverage, and employer sponsored health plans do not provide coverage outside their residing country of coverage. Expatriates may be students, employees, independent contractors, extended tourists, or even missionaries. In most cases medical insurance becomes a necessity when providing individual or family protection for illnesses and accidents which occur while traveling to foreign destinations. Common illnesses for expatriates may be as simple as an upper respiratory infection or food poisoning to dangerous illnesses transmitted by insects or animals. Accidents are also a concern for those physically active with adventure sports or just plain clumsy due to not paying attention to one’s environment & surroundings. When purchasing international health insurance coverage, travelers should be determining their needs with either a short term international health plan (5 days to one year) or an annual renewable international health plan (coverage for one year or longer). If you’re someone on the fence who needs one year of coverage and not sure which plan to purchase, you may want to opt for the annual renewable plan, in the case you need to extend your coverage for another year or even for a few months. This becomes important as you will not have to submit another application for coverage, if you are renewing your policy for additional length of coverage.

This post consists of three pages. On the bottom you will find links to the next pages.

Article Name
Medical insurance, Medicare, Health insurance in the Philippines
One of the first and most asked questions from people who want to move and stay in the Philippines is about their health and the insurance to cover the expenses.

Leave a Reply or Comment

  1. Has anyone tried the Alldaychemist for perscriptions? You can find the site at the

    Why I ask is because I was thinking of using them when I move to Davao. There fees seem to be very cheap.

    Apprieciate any info with this.

    Don R.

    • Don,
      I checked the website and it seems to me that their prices are OK, compared to Philippine drugstores.
      I do not know how strict the Philippine customs are. Maybe worth giving it a try?

  2. beste Jan
    ik ben helemaal te gek blij met je webside ik wil in september 2010 in davao mijn vriendin gaan ontmoeten ,en ik wil er dan z.s.m ook gaan wonen ,wat ik op jouw side allemaal leer is gigantish ,maar weet je ook hoe ik met wat hollanders of belgen die daar wonen(davao) in contact kan komen? gewoon op het net voor simpele info zoals taxi goedkoop huurhuis enz ??of gewoon chatten.
    het word voor mij wel de eerste keer in phili maar ik heb wel 3jaar lang 3 maanden in japan gezeten en dan zit je goed daar heb ik gehoord .
    maar goed ik blijf voorlopig wel je hele side doornemen,ik kom overigens uit krimpen aan den ijsel ,(rotterdam)

    • Nico,
      Thanks for visiting my site.
      I am replying in English, because that is the language used on this website (international).
      I do not know much about Davao, but I have a little information about it:
      There’s a Dutch restaurant there named “de bonte koe”. The owner probably is Dutch.
      Address: J.Rizalstr. Habana Compound. Davao City, Phil.
      Phone: 082 222 7585
      Directions: Apo View Hotel Left around the block. 50 mtr. Crossing right into F. INIGO Str. next Crossing left ino Rizalstr. After 50 Mtr lefthand site you see (Across of Metro bank) the entrance to Habana Compound. Enter, in the back ( neon Sign with a cow).

      I also know an American in Davao who will be willing to give you information about hotels, car rentals etc. His website:, you can tell him that i have send you to him.

  3. I just want to comment that I’ve had a very good experience with All Day Chemist from here in the States. I get most my medications from ADC at a fraction of what it would cost here. It takes about 12 days to arrive. Postage is $25, so I usually load up medications I take daily.

    I’ve never had a customs problem and you can track your shipment online. I’ve read that ADC will re-shipped for free when there is a customs problem.

    BTW, even though ADC asks you to fax a prescription, the truth is that you don’t need to.

    BTW, many of the medications they sell are manufactured in India, and you are told so in the product prescription. I’ve never had a quality problem.

    My wife and I are planning to move to Calatrava (Negros Occ.) when I retire in eight years. I’m hoping that All Day Chemist will still be in business then (it’ll lose a lot of customers when Obamacare goes into effect) and that shipping and Philippines customs won’t be a problem.

    Unfortunately I won’t be able to take advantage of Medicare while living in the Philippines. On the other hand, the cost of medical care where we will live is about the same as Medicare copays. And from what I’ve seen online, PhilHealth may pay someting like 50% of surgical procedures.

  4. Open dialog is paramount when dealing with all forms of illness.I am hoping to see more money going into research and governments doing their part. All my respect goes to those suffering, be it you personally or a loved one. My hope is for quick medical advancement quickly to help all those in need.

  5. hello sir, i live in tennessee usa. i am trying to inquire about medical insurance if i decide to live in philippines… can u advise me ?

    • Hi Tim,
      There are several posts about this difficult subject. Read them all and you can inquire at all links of insurance companies. I can not advice anybody, because it is very personal.