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Health care in the Philippines

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Wondering about health care services in the Philippines? Here is an overview of the country's health care system.

Philippines consists of more than 7,000 islands. Bearing that in mind, you will probably wonder whether health care services are easily available there. This should not be a major issue as health care services are available almost everywhere, although these do not usually meet European or Western standards. However, you are advised to seek information regarding required vaccination and other conditions to be fulfilled before traveling to South-East Asia.

Health care system

The local health care system is close to the average, that is rather fair compared to many Asian countries. To obtain health care services, you can visit one of the following hospitals: the Alabang Medical Center, the Makati Medical Center, the Ortigas Medical City, St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City and the Asian Hospital.

In fact, you will have no trouble in finding public or private hospitals anywhere across the country. Note that you have more chances of finding good doctors in public hospitals where health care is free of charge.

Doctors

Believe it or not, but many Filipino doctors have been have been trained in US medical schools. Some of them even began their careers in the United States before moving to the Philippines to serve their fellow citizens. Others were trained in the best Philippines universities and medical schools. The same applies to nurses.

Medication

You are not likely to get medication without prescription in the Philippines, even if you are a foreigner. In fact, local laws are very strict in this regard. Besides their quality service and level, you will not be able to force pharmacists to sell medication to you without prescription. However, medication prices are affordable. Note that you can find pharmacies almost everywhere in the country. You should be able to communicate with the pharmacists pretty easily if you speak English.

Health insurance

All employees in the Philippines, including foreigners, are eligible to the PhilHealth which is a health insurance set up in 1995 by local authorities. This insurance system is financed by employers and employees, as well as local and national government subsidies. More specifically, each person receiving income in the country has to contribute 2.5% of his revenue to PhilHealth, just like employers who have to contribute at different rates.

Refunds

PhilHealth generally makes refunds within 60 days following the request. However, according to the latest regulations, it is required to refund 75% of the amount immediately and the rest once the application is processed.

To date, PhilHealth has satisfied 90% of all claims within the 60 days period. The remaining 10% represent requests made by patients themselves or health care providers such as hospitals.

Health risks

When moving to the Philippines, you should take into account health risks to which you might be exposed such as dengue, malaria, typhoid, cholera, leptospirosis, rabies, etc. To better protect yourself, make sure to update your vaccines before traveling.

 Useful links:

Expat.com - Health Care in the Philippines Forum 
Ministry of Health www.doh.gov.ph
US Embassy in Manila - Health care manila.usembassy.gov
The Filipinodoctor thefilipinodoctor.com

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