A little about the Philippines…
7,641 islands contribute to a combined area of 300,000 square kilometers and its population is almost 100 million (12th highest in the world as of January 2018), despite this relatively small size. Its' maritime borders include: Taiwan to the north, Japan to the northeast, Palau to the east, Malaysia and Indonesia to the south and Vietnam to the west. A hub of trans-Pacific trade between the US and Asia, the Philippine economy is fast growing and developing.
So, now that you know a little more about the country and what is has to offer, let us guide you through how their healthcare system works.
Philip or Philippines?The Philippines are named after King Philip II of Spain, as it used to be a Spanish colony from 1565 – 1898.
Text me!On a daily basis, 35 million Filipinos send 450 million texts - that is more than the USA and Europe combined.
More volcanoes than towns!In the Philippine island of Camiguin, there are 7 volcanoes vs. 5 towns. There hasn’t been an eruption for decades, but the island has the highest number of volcanoes per square kilometer in the world.
The Healthcare System
As one can possibly imagine, the sporadic nature of the islands that make up the Philippines is mirrored in the quality of the healthcare. It ranges from excellent to very poor, the poorest tending to be in the more rural areas. The system exists as a combination of both Private and Public services. With the Philippines supplying roughly 20% of all overseas nurses worldwide, they receive a massive sum in remittances that is vital to the economy, but in turn they sacrifice the quality of healthcare provision back home.
The government controlled scheme is called the Philippine Health Insurance Company (PhilHealth) it was founded in 1995 and offers free healthcare to all citizens. It is funded by a combination of government / local subsidies and contributions from employers and their employees. Although the equipment in public hospitals may not be up to the standard of the private hospitals, the doctors are still well trained. Many expats will of course be used to the standards of western healthcare, which only a few hospitals in and around the capital (Manila) can get close to providing. As such, we would highly recommend taking out an International private health insurance.
Most hospitals in the Philippines are actually privately run, so you will receive a high level of care in most major cities. They may be expensive in terms of local prices, but for most expats it is relatively cheap compared to the likes of the US and Europe. Most of these establishments expect cash upfront for payment and your insurer (should you have one) will reimburse you after the treatment is complete. A large number of expats go to Hong Kong or Singapore for very specialized treatments, so it is very important for medical evacuation clauses in your insurance policy to involve these countries if at all possible. That was an introduction to the healthcare system in the Philippines today, but let’s look at the next issue on the agenda: VISAs. Below we have listed the most common types of VISA that people tend to use:
Quota Immigrant VISA
There are 50 of these granted each year and allow for people of extraordinary professional skills or experience that will benefit the Philippines financially. It grants them permanent residency status and the same immigration treatment as an actual Filipino citizen. If you do not have the skills or experience, substantial capital is sufficient. To be considered for this, you will need at least one of the following: remittance of at least US$50,000; you own a condominium; or you have an investment in an existing company in the Philippines.
Non-Quota Immigrant VISA
To qualify for this VISA, you need to fall into one of the following categories: a dependent of a Filipino citizen (children or spouses); returning permanent residents; returning former Filipino citizen. You will also need to provide birth/marriage certificates.
Special Resident Retiree VISA
This VISA is for people who plan to spend an indefinite time in the Philippines as a non-immigrant. You will be eligible for this VISA if you meet one of the following criteria: 1. You are over 50 years old and you receive a pension of US$800 a month alone, or US$1000 a month if in a couple. In addition, you will have to make a deposit of US$10,000. If you don’t have a pension, you must be able to deposit US$20,000. 2. If you are 35-49 years old you must be able to deposit US$50,000 (all of these figures are as of June 2019).
This VISA requires you to be over 18, have sufficient funds and take a university course or higher. The chosen institution will then submit an application on your behalf to the Commission of Higher Education (CHED) and once approved, you will receive the student VISA.