Everyone is facing a difficult time trying to figure out where to get the money when urgent hospital expenses come unexpectedly. If you ever experienced this dilemma, you know exactly how important it is to get health insurance coverage.
For freelancers and self-employed workers, life is full of uncertainties. Having a dependable health insurance may significantly alleviate the financial burden of various medical expenses as well as running hospital bills when confined. While there are hundreds of private health insurance providers available out there, unfortunately, not everyone can afford to pay the hefty charges. This is where the government support will come in.
Welcome to the World of PhilHealth
All working Filipinos are now mandated to secure an official PhilHealth identification number (referring to a lifetime PhilHealth account) whether they are working as private employees, government officials, or remote workers. However, the traditional time-consuming registration process often discourages Filipino labor workforce from applying. PhilHealth now encourages new members or individuals with no existing records to apply through its online portal https://eregister.philhealth.gov.ph for more convenient access to the records. Read further to find out everything you need to know about PhilHealth from online registration to benefit packages that you may enjoy once you become a bona fide contributor.
The Pivotal Role of PhilHealth
PhilHealth or National Health Insurance Program is a government-subsidized insurance program created to provide adequate healthcare coverage to all Filipino citizens living in the country. The health insurance program intends to help active and non-working Filipinos pay for their medical obligations, especially individuals who do not have direct access to quality healthcare services.
PhilHealth practices a sustainable system of fund disbursement, management, and collection to provide sufficient funds to all basic and supplementary health packages. This insurance program entirely covers in-patients, outpatients, pregnant women, senior citizens, dual citizens, foreigners, and indigent members of any city or municipality.
Being a regular PhilHealth contributor provides you and your legal dependents sufficient health benefits paid to all accredited healthcare facility by means of case rates. Among the principal health benefits, PhilHealth may cover include professional fees, laboratory procedures, and medicines for the treatment of specific illnesses. If you wish to maximize your PhilHealth benefits, you should be aware of the insurance coverage and limitations based on specific medical cases and appropriate treatments to be carried out since not all cases can be covered.
The PhilHealth Classifications
PhilHealth membership is automatically given to employed Filipinos, particularly who are receiving a regular monthly salary. Other types of membership are as follows:
1. Regular employees
These individuals refer to as those who are receiving fixed compensation or working at any registered office in the Philippines. Private household employees are also included (referring to those who employ babysitters, household workers, and gardeners). The premium range is between PhP200 and PhP875 per month if they are earning more than PhP5,000.
2. Self-employed or voluntary member
These are workers referred to as business owners, remote workers, farmers, or anyone who is not receiving a regular income. Premium range is between PhP200 and Php875 per month, depending on their declared projected income.
3. Overseas Filipino Workers (optional)
This type refers to all OFWs, including seafarers, with active POEA-accredited employment contract. Premium coverage is PhP2,400 per year.
4. Sponsored members
Sponsored members are referred to as individuals working for government-endorsed organizations and private non-profit organizations. The premium coverage is PhP2,400 per year to be paid by the sponsor.
5. Lifetime member
Any PhilHealth member becomes a lifetime member if he or she has paid at least 120 months of premium contributions before reaching the age of retirements.
6. Senior citizens
Filipino citizens who reach the age of 60 but have never been a PhilHealth contributor. They can be automatically classified as a lifetime member.
All individuals with no regular source of income or those who fall under the low-income household bracket set forth by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Their membership will be determined by the DSWD before proceeding to actual registration.
List of Qualified PhilHealth Dependents
You may register the following individuals as your PhilHealth dependents, but their qualifications are subject to certain conditions when you use the benefits.
- Legitimate spouse provided that the person is not a member
- Legitimate and illegitimate children below 21 years of age
- Foster children as defined the Foster Care Act of 2012
- Legally adopted children below 21 years of age
- Children 21 years old and above who are suffering from a congenital disability (both physically and mentally challenged)
- Parents ages 60 and above, with declared monthly household income to be determined by PhilHealth based on the guidelines under the NHI Act of 2013
- Parents with a permanent disability regardless of the present age who are absolutely dependent on the member
Registration Process for a Voluntary Membership
As a freelancer or a remote worker, you may be classified as a voluntary member since you don’t have a fixed household income, though the amount of your contribution may depend on your declared income. Indigent members, senior citizens, and sponsored members may also join you to register as an individual-paying member.
PhilHealth no longer requests for additional documents when you change your membership classification. That’s because a completed PhilHealth Member Record Form is all you need to submit to become a voluntary member. Other qualified individuals for voluntary PhilHealth membership include:
- Self-employed professionals whose income is generated from business or professional practice. These include healthcare experts, lawyers, online business owners, freelancers, and remote agents.
- Overseas Filipino Workers (documented, undocumented or former)
- Workers of the informal sector (construction workers, jeepney drivers, street vendors, and stay-out household service workers)
- Naturalized Filipino citizens (to be supported with naturalization papers)
- Dual citizens (to be supported with relevant citizenship documents)
- Foreigners with Alien Certificate of Registration and other valid work permits
If you prefer not to apply via online, here’s what you need to do in acquiring a PhilHealth voluntary membership:
- Fill out two copies of PhilHealth Membership Record Form with your complete details. The MRF can be downloaded from the official site of PhilHealth.
- Bring the filled-out MRF documents to the nearest Local Health Insurance Office (LHI) along with the following supporting documents:
- Two copies 1X1 of your recent ID picture
- Two valid IDs from any of the following:
- Valid passport
- NSO-issued birth certificate
- Voter’s registration
- Social Security System ID
- PAG-IBIG or HDMF transaction card
- LTO driver’s license
- Taxpayer identification card (TIN)
- Philippine Regulation Commission ID card (PRC)
- Local postal ID
- Alien Certificate of Registration (for foreigners)
Prepare two photocopies of your supporting documents for submission. Bring the original documents for verification purposes.
- Wait for your PhilHealth Member Data Record (MDR) and official PhilHealth card from the authorized officer. You can get both documents on the same day.
- Secure a PhilHealth payment form and pay the necessary contributions either quarterly or annually options. Succeeding payments can be done in major banks and accredited payment centers.
Online Registration for PhilHealth Membership
Filipino citizens who want to enroll as voluntary members can apply through PhilHealth’s online facility. Here’s how to do it:
- Visit PhilHealth’s official website and click the Online Services tab or you may directly visit PhilHealth Electronic Registration System.
- Look for the Register link in the electronic registration system, found under the Membership tab, wait for a new window to appear (PhilHealth Electronic Registration page) and then click “Proceed.”
- Go through the terms and conditions page and tick the checkbox when you are finished reading the terms to confirm and then click “Accept.” Be sure to fully understand the terms and conditions of the PhilHealth online registration page.
- Fill up the PhilHealth online form with the following information:
- Personal details
- Membership type (please tick voluntary)
- Details of your dependents. Single individuals may list their parents or children as dependents. Married applicants may register the name of their spouse and children.
- Contact details such as mobile number, email address and landline number
- Permanent address
- Guardian details
- Supporting documents
- Upload your supporting documents as listed earlier. Scan the documents like birth certificate, valid passport, and SSS and save them as JPEG, PDF or PNG before uploading them.
- Review all the information that you have inputted and enter the verification code provided below the page.
- Tick Confirm to verify the information and click “Submit Registration.”
- Once the registration process is done, wait for the email confirmation where you will receive your PhilHealth number. Only one PhilHealth number will be assigned to you.
In case you have forgotten your PhilHealth number or lost the card, you can retrieve it through these options:
- Send a message to 0917-5129149 (PhilHealth mobile hotline in this format: Last name, first name, middle name, and date of birth or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Get in touch with your former employer to know if you can retrieve your PhilHealth contribution record.
- Visit the nearest PhilHealth branch or PhilHealth Express site nearest you. PhilHealth Express locations can be found at:
- Robinsons Manila (Padre Faura, Manila)
- Robinsons Otis (Manila)
- Robinsons Malabon
- LRT North Mall (Caloocan City)
- Lucky Chinatown Mall (Binondo, Manila)
- Regional satellite offices in your province
- Visit the PhilHealth main office at Citystate Centre, 709 Shaw Boulevard 1603 Pasig City.
PhilHealth Payment Schedules for Self-employed and Freelancers
The new rate for computing the necessary monthly contribution is set at 2.75% as per PhilHealth Circular No. 2017-0024. You may settle your PhilHealth contributions among quarterly, semi-annual, or annual payment options. If you are earning PhP25,000 and below, your premium coverage will be set at PhP2,400 per year. However, if your earnings exceed PhP25,000, your premium contribution will be fixed at PhP3,600 per year.
Aside from this, the payment deadline is based on the last digit number of your PhilHealth ID number.
- 0 to 4: 11th to 15th day of the month
- 5 to 9: 16th to 20th day of the month
How to Check the Records of your PhilHealth Contributions?
Here’s what you can do if you wish to monitor your PhilHealth contributions:
- Website verification
- Visit the PhilHealth official website and log in to the member inquiry page. Enter your PIN (PhilHealth Identification Number) and password. If you can’t remember your log in details, check the email activation sent to you by PhilHealth. Remember to secure your password at all times.
- Answer the security questions and wait for the response.
- The next window will display the membership status information. Click “Premium Contribution” to view your records.
- Call (02) 441-7442 and a voice prompt will provide the necessary instructions to access your contribution records and membership status. Prepare your PhilHealth ID number as this will be required when you inquire.
- Visit the nearest PhilHealth branch or satellite office in your area.
How to Claim PhilHealth Benefits
To become eligible for PhilHealth benefits, you are required to settle at least 9 months of premium contributions, including three months of qualifying contributions, within the last 12 months prior to confinement. All claims should be made within 45 days (including during confinement). Kindly follow the instructions below when claiming your PhilHealth benefits:
Complete all the necessary claim forms before submission. You may download the forms from the PhilHealth website or ask for them in the hospital. The appropriate forms are as follows:
- Member Data Record Form (MDR)
- PhilHealth Claim form 1 (original copy)
- Certificate of payments with official receipt numbers (provided by the hospital or diagnostic laboratory)
- PhilHealth ID and an additional valid ID in photocopies
It is advisable to update your PhilHealth Member Data Record regularly to expedite the claim process, especially if you don’t have enough time during emergency cases. You may use PhilHealth’s online portal to update your records. Here’s how to do it:
- Download the PhilHealth Member Registration Form from the website when you log in to your account.
- Tick the box that indicates “For Updating” under the Purpose section found on the upper right hand corner of the page and then fill out the form with your complete details.
- Download the completed MDR form, attach it to an email and send it to email@example.com.
- You will receive an email confirmation informing you that your record has been updated. Check your inbox or spam folder regularly.
You may also update your membership records by visiting the nearest branch. You will be requested to fill up a new membership record form and will be issued a new PhilHealth ID bearing your new civil status or membership type. The supporting documents for changing civil status are as follows:
- A certified true copy of Marriage Certificate for married individuals
- Certified true copy of Death Certificate if widowed
For the complete list of PhilHealth branches or Local Health Insurance offices, visit https://www.philhealth.gov.ph/about_us/map/regional.htm.
Where to Pay your PhilHealth Contributions
PhilHealth contributions are accepted through the following payment centers:
- SM Bills Payment centers
- Any branch of PagIBIG, SSS, or PhilHealth nearest you
- Metro Manila post offices
- Security Bank
- Union Bank
- Land Bank of the Philippines
- Bank of the Philippine Islands
- Bayad Center
- All Bancnet member banks
With all uncertainties of life, you can’t afford not to get a health insurance for urgent medical cases particularly if you are working as a freelancer unlike those employed in large corporations or government agencies. This is why PhilHealth is here to back you up.
Aldrich Tan is a duly registered Filipino architect and is currently working as a freelance writer focusing on content writing and blogging purposes.