RT Cunningham


Health Insurance for Me and My Wife in the Philippines (Updated)

health insurance Health insurance for the average Filipino is very affordable. I can’t understand why any Filipino family wouldn’t sign up for it and keep it going. Sure, some people have issues with income, but PhilHealth covers more people than you can imagine.

I signed up for PhilHealth in May of 2015 and I paid a whopping 2400 pesos for a full year as my premium. The premium will increase to 17,000 pesos per year on July 1, 2017. I’m already covered under TRICARE Standard Overseas without any premium costs.

Health Insurance

I let my health insurance lapse when I left the United States in 2006. It really hasn’t been a problem for me. I’ve seen a local doctor three times since then and the total cost including prescriptions was under 15,000 pesos (which would be a little over $300.00 USD).

My wife, Josie, worked in the United States until the end of 2014. I was covered while I was in the United States with her, under her health insurance. That changed after we returned to the Philippines, of course. That’s why I signed up for PhilHealth, local health insurance that neither of us have had to use yet.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also called “ObamaCare”) requires Americans to have some type of health coverage. That doesn’t apply to people who don’t live in the United States. Even so, TRICARE Overseas Standard meets the requirement.

TRICARE Standard Overseas

As I understand it, I just need to make sure I work with a health care provider who’s accepted and certified by the TRICARE folks in the United States. There’s a long list of them in Olongapo, where the doctors work out of a couple of different hospitals.

Of course, things will change, especially when I reach the age of social security retirement and become eligible for Medicare. I don’t want to think about all the nonsense I’ll have to deal with when I get there.

TRICARE pays after other health insurance plans pay. So I have to use PhilHealth first, TRICARE second. The deductible is $300 per year for both of us. And then TRICARE only covers 25 percent of a list of things. I guess I need to start saving for future medical costs not covered by either PhilHealth or TRICARE.

We’re in Good Health

Other than being a little overweight, that is. I’m 56 and Josie’s 55. I don’t expect we’ll become fit and trim anytime soon.

My mother-in-law will be 82 in a few days. Josie’s in better health than her mother ever was. I expect Josie to live just as long.

My father had strokes and at least one heart attack by the time he was 60. He had one testicle and one eye removed. He had hernias. He still managed to live until the age of 84. I’m in better health than he ever was – I’ve had none of those things. I expect to reach at least 84.

We still have 20 to 30 years to go, maybe more, unless something out of the ordinary happens. Living in the Philippines, we never know what to expect.

Compared to what people are paying in the United States, we’re getting off easy when it comes to health insurance costs. That will change if we move back to the United States. At this point, I can’t even guess what we would have to pay (we can be covered under the health insurance plans for either of our children and their families).

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By RT Cunningham
February 27, 2017