What are the best HMO plans in the Philippines? Are you looking for the best prepaid HMO cards?
This article is for all Pinoys looking for an affordable HMO plan: freelancers, self-employed, individuals, senior citizens, families, and employers (business owners of corporations and SME/small and medium enterprises).
The goal of this article is to let you have at least a survey of the providers and products available in the market. For details of a specific plan or information about the company, please consider contacting an authorized sales agent and the companies.
What is HMO or health maintenance organization?
According to studies, half of the country’s total costs are paid out of pocket. That means many of us Pinoys are uninsured, and we may suffer financial hardship when we get sick. The costs of getting treatment for cancer, stroke and heart disease are rising and can easily run up to several million pesos.
The health maintenance organization or HMO is a company that allows people to be insured to avail medical services for a fixed monthly or annual fee. It acts as the middleman between the client and the healthcare providers such as hospitals, clinics, laboratories, doctors, therapist, etc.
The company can lower overall costs by being able to offer large number of potential clients to hospitals and physicians. They can negotiate for lesser prices on treatment, services, and medicines. In return, healthcare providers have a database of customers that would avail of the services.
HMO companies offer various plans. A standard HMO package might include outpatient care and hospitalization. Prepaid cards are also becoming popular recently. They are cheap and offer specific coverage such as one-time expenses for emergency care. Others might also offer a co-pay where the bill is split between the company and the customer.
Some might offer to provide coverage that can be hard to insure, such as pre-existing conditions, or to people usually refused for insurance such as senior citizens and those with pre-existing conditions.
How does an HMO plan work?
An HMO company offers customers the ability to sign up for a plan that would pay for expenses related to medical services that are covered. It is like getting a life insurance, but instead of the benefits paid during death the benefits are made towards any expenses in the hospital, doctor’s consultation, etc.
Let’s imagine an example, an HMO plan that has an annual benefit limit (ABL) of ₱100,000. The ABL can then be used to pay for any costs due to a medical service such as check-ups, hospitalization or lab tests (X-ray, blood test) for a medical condition that is within the coverage.
So let’s say that the insured person gets sick with pneumonia. He or she might consult a doctor who charges for a consultation (maybe for ₱1,000) and asks for X-ray (₱500) result and blood test (₱500). The doctor might recommend confinement, and the person stayed in the hospital for several days for a total bill of ₱50,000. After being discharged, the person might be asked for follow-up check-ups and lab tests, which can mean another expense of ₱3,000.
So the total amount from diagnosis to treatment would be ₱55,000 (2,000 + 50,000 + 3,000). With an HMO plan that has an ABL of ₱100,000, the insured person doesn’t have to pay anything and has a remaining ₱45,000 that can be used for any medical services availed for the rest of the year.
Now, this is a very simplified example. HMO companies would recommend doctors, hospitals, laboratories and other medical providers that are within their network (more of this later). Secondly, on hospital costs, the bill is generally split between what’s going to be paid by Philhealth and by the HMO company. The insured pays any excess amount. You can check Philhealth medical case rates.
In the case above:
|Philhealth (2020 rate)||₱6,600|
And this means that the remaining ABL is ₱51,600 (100k – 2,000 – 43,400 – 3,000).
If the patient is not a Philhealth member, the Philhealth portion needs to be paid out of pocket.
Disclaimer: The above is only a scenario. Actual plan benefits vary.
Advantages of HMO
What are the pros and cons of getting an HMO plan?
- An HMO plan can cushion the impact of not earning an income during sickness.
- It can give peace of mind because it can help relieve financial worry brought about by being ill.
- Some Pinoys choose to not seek treatment because they don’t have money. By having an HMO coverage, you can get cured of what ails you.
- Help prevent families from using up their savings or making untimely financial decisions such as getting into huge debts, selling off properties, and/or redeeming stocks, mutual funds, and other investments during a down market, etc.
- Protects your financial plan.
- Coverage can include dependents such as parents, siblings and children.
- Lowers out-of-pocket spending during personal health crisis.
- Depending on the benefits of the plans, people can seek medical care without putting up an amount for hospital deposit.
- Patients and their families can focus on care. The plan can help in alleviating some concerns about mounting bills.
- Depending on the plan, one can avail of preventive health measures like free annual medical and dental checkups.
- It is used by companies to retain and acknowledge the value of employees.
- HMO companies offer a variety of healthcare solutions, including prepaid cards, coverage for senior citizens, etc.
- Payment plans can be flexible: monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually.
- They can be customizable with addition of riders or upgrades.
Disadvantages of HMO
What are some of the things that can be disadvantageous?
- Most plans have limited annual benefit limit (ABL), and so people might still spend money to pay what remains of the bill. This can happen when one gets hospitalized for a long time, requires regular lab tests and treatment, or needs to go through a very expensive procedure.
- Some plans may not cover certain diseases or medical procedures. They may also be a co-pay arrangement, where you’re asked to pay a portion of the bill.
- You’re limited to a network of healthcare providers. Some plans may not offer reimbursement when you avail of healthcare services outside of the network.
- Thinking of using multiple HMO plans? Only one can be used at any one time.
- Premiums can be quite expensive especially for people of advanced age or with pre-existing conditions.
- Premiums are expected to go higher each time you renew.
- People in poor health may have to pay more expensive premium, are not allowed to renew their plan or are not approved to get a plan.
- You need to have Philhealth cover, or else you’d have to pay the portion for Philhealth membership.
- The plan may be tied to employment, so you may lose it when you resign or you retire from the job.
Best HMO plans in the Philippines
What are the types of HMO plans that are available in the market today?
- Prepaid cards
- Individual plans
- Family plans
- Corporate and Small/Medium enterprises (SME)
- Senior Citizens
The lists that you are about to read are not meant to be complete data on all HMO products. Some companies have information about their products on their websites, others don’t. A few require that potential clients contact them via email or online form. So please do consider check each company or reach out to their representatives.
Secondly, the details that you can see here are just overview. Links are provided so that you can go to the website to learn more.
1. HMO prepaid cards
Prepaid HMO cards are the most affordable healthcare plans available in the Philippines today. Pinoys who are on a tight budget can actually get them. They’re becoming popular because they’re easy to get, comparatively affordable, and open for everyone. There are some that you can acquire without going through medical exam, underwriting, etc.
Their coverage is limited to whatever benefits they’re purchased for. So if you got one for emergency services, you can use the card at the admitting section of hospital so you can avail of the necessary medical attention. Healthcare services are also most of the time similarly limited within the network. The validity is generally good for one year and coverage commonly expires at the end of validity period.
So what are the best HMO prepaid cards in the Philippines?
- Diagnostic tests
Some cards have a combination of two or more of the above types, so it’s best to follow the links on the table. They lead to company’s websites that offer updated and more complete information of their included services.
HMO prepaid cards for consultation
The cards offer consultation services with physicians that are within the network. They may or may not include annual physical exams, and may be offered only to certain age groups.
|Aventus Classic Card||Aventus||Unlimited consultations, fixed fee for specialists, free dental checkup, 10% discount on lab and diagnostic and other dental services|
|Aventus Elite Card||Aventus||Same as Classic, higher discount, free annual physical examination|
|Aventus Kiddie||Aventus||For 0 -17 years of age, same as Classic and higher discounts|
|Aventus Premium Card||Aventus||Same as Classic, higher discounts, free Basic Executive Check-up|
|Aventus Prestige||Aventus||Same as Classic, higher discounts, free Comprehensive Executive Checkup|
|Aventus Prime||Aventus||Same as Classic, higher discounts on services, free Annual Physical Examination|
|Diabetes Care Program||FamilyDoc||Unlimited doctor consult|
|Diabetes Prevention Program||FamilyDoc||Unlimited doctor consult|
|Unli-Konsulta||FamilyDoc||Unlimited doctor consultation for 3 people|
|MedConsult Adults||Insular Health Care, Inc||For 18 – 64 years old, 4 face to face medical consultations, 1 year unlimited telemedicine access, 1 year unlimited dental consultations|
|MedConsult Kids||Insular Health Care, Inc||For 1-17 years old, same as MedConsult Adults|
|MedConsult Seniors||Insular Health Care, Inc||For 65 years and older, same as MedConsult Adults|
|Individual KonsultaMD||KonsultaMD||Unlimited medical consultation via telephone|
|Dual KonsultaMD||KonsultaMD||Same as Individual KonsultaMD, up to 2 people|
|Group KonsultaMD||KonsultaMD||Same as Individual KonsultaMD, up to 5 people|
|PRIMA||Maxicare||Unlimited outpatient consultations. Variants – Silver: 0 – 59 years old, Gold: 60 years old and above,|
|Health Check||Medicard Philippines, Inc||Annual Physical Exam and unlimited check-up|
|HealthPlus||Medicard Philippines, Inc||Annual physical exam , unlimited preventive and outpatient care|
|My MediCard||Medicard Philippines, Inc||unlimited consutlations in Medicard-accredited clinics and hospitals nationwide.|
|DigiMed Plus Consult (Single use)||PhilCare||One-time video teleconsultation|
|Single-use DigiMed Consult||PhilCare||One-time teleconsultation|
|unli-CONSULT for 65+||PhilCare||Unlimited consultation for 65 years old and older|
|unli-CONSULT for Adults||PhilCare||18 – 64 years old, unlimited consultation|
|unli-CONSULT for Kids||PhilCare||1 – 17 years old, unlimited consult|
|Unli-DigiMed Consult||PhilCare||Unlimited digital consultation|
|VidaCare CORE||PhilCare||60 years older and above, unlimited consultation and lab/diagnostic tests|
HMO prepaid cards for dental services
The following offer individual or group dental health services.
|Family Smile Package||MetroDental||Dental care for four persons|
|MetroDental White Pass||MetroDental||One dental consultation, One oral prophylaxis, One panoramic (full mouth) X-ray|
|MetroDental Platinum Pass||MetroDental||Same as White Pass, One fluoride gel treatment, one temporary filling (per tooth), one simple tooth extraction|
HMO prepaid cards for diagnostic and laboratory tests
These cards can defray costs of certain diagnostic and lab procedures.
|MyHealth Basic Metabolic Panel||MyHealthClinic||Avail for a panel of metabolic lab tests|
|MyHealth Clinic Annual Health Package||MyHealthClinic||Avail for baseline check-up|
|MyHealth Comprehensive Metabolic Panel||MyHealthClinic||Same as Basic Metabolic Panel, plus lab test for liver or check health of organs|
|MyHealth Pregnancy Laboratory Package||MyHealthClinic||One Ob-gyne consultation and lab tests|
|MyHealth PRIME Check Executive Check-up||MyHealthClinic||Includes physical and special exams, and lab tests|
|MyHealth Top2Bottom Executive Check-Up||MyHealthClinic||Avail for thorough health exam|
HMO prepaid cards for emergency services
These cards can pay expenses for specific emergency situations.
|ER Care All-In 60 Adults||Insular Health Care, Inc||For 18 – 64 years old, one-time use up to P60K for emergency cases due to accident, viral illness, bacterial. Variants: Regular and Deluxe|
|ER Care All-In 60 Kids||Insular Health Care, Inc||For 1 – 17 years old, one-time use up to P60K for emergency cases due to accident, viral illness, bacterial. Variants: Regular and Deluxe|
|ER CARE ALL-IN 80 Adults||Insular Health Care, Inc||Same as ER Care All-In 60 Adults, limit up to 80K|
|ER Care All-In 80 Kids||Insular Health Care, Inc||Same as ER Care All-In 60 Kids, limit up to 80K|
|ER Care All-In 100 Adults||Insular Health Care, Inc||Same as ER Care All-In 60 Adults, limit up to 100K|
|ER Care All-In 100 Kids||Insular Health Care, Inc||Same as ER Care All-In 60 Kids, limit up to 100K|
|ER Care Basic 50||Insular Health Care, Inc||One-time use up to P50K for emergency care due to accidents, including medicine|
|ER Care Booster 60||Insular Health Care, Inc||Same as ER Care Basic 50 for up to P60K, plus outpatient and inpatient emergency care, room and board, diagnostic procedures, use of operating room, recovery room, and ICU diagnostic procedures, as medically necessary.|
|ER Care Booster 80||Insular Health Care, Inc||Same as ER Care Booster 60, up to P80K.|
|ER Care Booster 100||Insular Health Care, Inc||Same as ER Care Booster 60, up to P100K.|
|Total ProtectER||Insular Health Care, Inc||Term insurance + hospital benefit + emergency care for accident, viral and bacterial illnesses.|
|Maxicare EReady||Maxicare||One-time emergency related cases; two variants available|
|Maxicare EReady Advance||Maxicare||One-time emergency-related coverage, unlimited outpatient consultation; two variants available|
|RxER||Medicard Philippines, Inc||up to P20k limit for ER care, up to P5k for lab and diagnostic tests, emergency for trauma cases, preventive and outpatient care|
|ER Health Assist 40 for Adults||PhilCare||Unlimited medical and dental consult, single-use benefit up to P40K for outpatient emergency and hospital confinement for viral and bacterial illnesses or accident.|
|ER Health Assist 60 for Adults||PhilCare||Same as ER Health Assist 40 for Adults, benefit up to P60K|
|ER Health Assist 80 for Adults||PhilCare||Same as ER Health Assist 40 for Adults, benefit up to P80K|
|ER Shield||PhilCare||Emergency care for viral and bacterial illnesses and treatment as result of accident injuries, up to P50k|
|ER Vantage Plus 40 for Adults||PhilCare||18 – 64 yeras old, same as ER Shield, up to P40K|
|ER Vantage Plus 40 for Kids||PhilCare||6 months – 17 years old, same as ER Shield and up to P40K|
|ER Vantage Plus 60 for Adults||PhilCare||Same as ER Vantage Plus 40 Adults, up to P60K|
|ER Vantage Plus 60 for Kids||PhilCare||Same as ER Vantage Plus 40 Kids and up to P60K|
|ER Vantage Plus 80 for Adults||PhilCare||Same as ER Vantage Plus 40 Adults, up to P80K|
|Health Vantage 40 for Adults||PhilCare||18 – 64 years old, same as ER Shield plus hospital confinement, up to P40K|
|PhilCare Rush||PhilCare||Travel emergency care, ambulance, outpatient emergency and hospitalzation up to P50k|
|VidaCare PREMIER||PhilCare||Same as VidaCare CORE, plus up to P20k emergency care for viral, bacterial illnesses or injuries due to accident|
HMO prepaid cards for hospitalization
These are cards that can provide financial assistance on hospital bills due to confinement.
|MyMaxicare Lite||Maxicare||One-time confinement due to 8 covered diseases. Variants: Yellow and Blue|
|MediCard Select||Medicard Philippines, Inc||Individual and family, with option to include 5-star hospitals, A revolving fund the unused portion is added to the next year’s ABL plus access fee|
|Dengue Assist||PhilCare||18 – 64 years old, up to P30K limit for confinement due to dengue|
|Dengue RX Plus for Adults||PhilCare||21 – 64 years old, same as Dengue Assist|
|Dengue RX Plus for Family||PhilCare||Same as Dengue Assist for two children and two adults|
|Dengue RX Plus for Kids||PhilCare||Same as Dengue Assist for individuals 20 years old or younger.|
|Health Vantage 40 for Kids||PhilCare||6 months – 17 years old, same as ER Shield plus hospital confinement, up to P40K|
|Health Vantage 60 for Adults||PhilCare||Same as Health Vantage Plus 40 Adults, up to P60K|
|Health Vantage 60 for Kids||PhilCare||Same as Health Vantage Plus 40 Kids, up to P60K|
|Health Vantage 80 for Adults||PhilCare||Same as Health Vantage Plus 40 Adults, up to P80K|
|Health Vantage 80 for Kids||PhilCare||Same as Health Vantage Plus 40 Kids, up to P80K|
|PhilCare Agapay 700||PhilCare||16 – 65 years old, one-time availment of healthcare services up to P40k for viral, bacterial illnesses and injuries sustained from accident|
|PhilCare Agapay 900||PhilCare||16 – 65 years old, one-time availment of healthcare services up to P40k for viral, bacterial illnesses and injuries sustained from accident|
|MediCash Dengue Insurance||Pioneer||Up to P10K assistance on diagnosis of dengue|
|MediCash Leptospirosis Insurance||Pioneer||Up to P10K assistance on diagnosis of Leptospirosis|
2. HMO for single, freelancers, self-employed and other individuals
Pinoys who are single, freelancers, self-employed and other individuals may want to avail of a healthcare insurance too. The easiest way to do that would be to get a prepaid card as discussed above. However as you can see from the above table, you might be looking for a more comprehensive coverage that includes in-patient, outpatient, emergency, and dental care services.
Consider getting a health/HMO plan if you’re not a dependent or qualified member of any family, group or corporate plans. There could be many reasons why this is so: age requirements, no longer employed by the company, or you’re engaged in your own small business or freelancing career.
Again, the list below is by no means the only products out there. Reach out to any rep or company and see if they have an individual plan that might suit you.
|OptimumCare Program||CareHealthPlus Systems International||Build up healthcare plan with a five year saving period|
|Quantum Gold||CareHealthPlus Systems International||Helathcare coverage for 7 years and pay for only five years|
|QuantumCare Program||CareHealthPlus Systems International||Five-year renewal HMO plan|
|ValuePlus Program||CareHealthPlus Systems International||Three-year renewal HMO plan|
|Enhanced Core 10||Caritas Health Shield, Inc.||5 year renewal, 10 years plan|
|ENHANCED CORE 6||Caritas Health Shield, Inc.||5 year renewal, 6 years plan|
|KIDDIE HEALTH PLAN||Caritas Health Shield, Inc.||Healthcare plan for kids|
|Ultimate Kaiser Health Builder Plan||Kaiser lnternational Healthgroup, Inc||Comes in four variants: K50, K75, K100, and K125; long-term health care|
|Short Term Health Care||Kaiser lnternational Healthgroup, Inc||Comes in variants of H500, H800, H1200, H1900, H2600 and H160, H2800, H3200, H4200|
|MyMaxicare||Maxicare||HMO plan for individuals, comes in four variants|
|Health Assure Plus Classic||MetroCare Heallh Systems, Inc.||Plans depend on room and board type, as well as the annual benefit limit|
|Health Assure Plus Prestige||MetroCare Heallh Systems, Inc.||Same as Health Assure Plus Classic, with major hospitals|
|Blue Royale||Pacific Cross Health Care. Inc||USD 2 million ABL, travel abroad coverage for less than 90 days, comes in three variants|
|Lifestyle||Pacific Cross Health Care. Inc||Issue age 21 – 35 y.o. 250K ABL per illness per lifetime, renewable until age 40|
|AIA MED-ASSIST||Philam Life||Co-pay of 10%, benefit up to P4million|
|Global Health Access||Philippine AXA Life||100 million ABL, plan can be taken advantage within and outside the country|
3. HMO for family and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs)
A family HMO plan is perfect for Pinoys with children, elderly parents and siblings. There is even one product that is designed for overseas Filipino Workers, the Kabayan plan from Medicard Philippines, Inc.
These plans are structured such that either one or both the parents are account-holder/s. Dependents can include the spouse and their children. Some policies also allow children to purchase plans for their parents and siblings.
The advantage of signing up for a family policy is that you are only going to deal with one company. Regularly, there will be one agent or contact person who acts as the liaison officer between you and the company. More than that, during the time of emergency, it can be real convenient.
Secondly, more often than not family plans have built-in discounts. Additional dependents can be added on without having to pay the full price as that of the account-holder’s.
However, there are disadvantages. On the whole, there are age restrictions. When a parent, sibling or a child reaches a certain age, they may be no longer be eligible for coverage.
|Care and Share Program||CareHealthPlus Systems International||Outpatient, dental care|
|Emergency Medical Expense||Eastwest Healthcare, Inc||For one time emergency care|
|Health Emergency Pampamilya Program (HELPP)||Eastwest Healthcare, Inc||Emergency care plus hospital daily allowance while confined|
|INFINITY HEALTH ADVANTAGE (Individuals / Family)||Eastwest Healthcare, Inc||Comprehensive HMO program|
|Short Term Health Care||Kaiser International Healthgroup, Inc||Variants: Health 600, Health 800 and then Health 1200, Health 1600|
|MyMaxicare||Maxicare||Offered for individuals and families, four variants available|
|Individual and Family||Medicard Philippines, Inc||Hospital confinement. Variants: 50k, 60k, 100k, and 120k ABK|
|Kabayan||Medicard Philippines, Inc||for OFWs, White Plan (60K), Blue Plan (100K), and Purple Plan (150k)|
|VIP||Medicard Philippines, Inc||Global Healthcare assistance for travelling 150km or more for less than 90 days|
|Health Assure Plus Classic||MetroCare Health Systems, Inc.||Plans depend on room and board type, as well as the annual benefit limit|
|Health Assure Plus Prestige||MetroCare Health Systems, Inc.||Same as Health Assure Plus Classic, plus access to major hospitals|
|Select Plus||Pacific Cross Health Care. Inc||ABL of P1.5 million reimbursement|
|Select Plus with Access||Pacific Cross Health Care. Inc||ABL of 1.5 million with no cash outlay|
|Select Standard||Pacific Cross Health Care. Inc||Up to P1.5 million reimbursement for each disability per lifetime|
|Select Standard with Access||Pacific Cross Health Care. Inc||Up to 1.5 million per disability per lifetime with no cash outlay|
4. HMO for Senior Citizens
You may have a tough time looking for a healthcare insurance specific for your parents or siblings who are in advanced age. And that’s because they are more likely to be in frail health, susceptible to diseases, higher chances to succumb to dreaded diseases or sick (currently or have recovered) from a pre-existing medical condition.
Because of the reasons above, companies either have no plans that are made available to them or the ones they offer come with higher costs and subject to many exclusions.
However by saying that, there are still a few plans that you can choose from.
|Plan 1M||Kaiser lnternational Healthgroup, Inc||61 years old and above, 1m annual benefit limit|
|Plan 250k||Kaiser lnternational Healthgroup, Inc||250k annual benefit limit|
|Plan 500k||Kaiser lnternational Healthgroup, Inc||500k annual benefit limit|
|Blue Royale Premier||Pacific Cross Health Care. Inc||66 and above|
|Premier||Pacific Cross Health Care. Inc||66 years old and above, reimbursement, 10% co-pay|
5. HMO for corporate and small/medium enterprises (SME)
Are you a business-owner? Do you want to protect your workers from the worst during times of sickness?
A corporate or SME (small/medium enterprises) HMO plan is built specifically for the needs of businesses. It can accommodate more enrollees that what can be offered in a family plan. Clients may have to reach the required minimum number of employees as principals and there may be a limit to the total number of enrollees.
There are two options that companies can go for: premium-based or third party administration (TPA). In a premium-based HMO plan, there’s fixed cost, fixed or pre-defined benefits and exclusions, and the risks are shouldered by the HMO provider.
Under TPA on the other hand, the business sets up a health fund. Whenever an employee avails of any of the healthcare services, it gets deducted. Costs of the services are generally lesser due to the volume discounts especially when there are many enrollees. The business needs to make sure that the health fund is replenished. The HMO provider meanwhile will charge fees for administrative service, access, and other such expenses. The benefit is that the business only has to pay what is utilized rather than paying a fixed premium.
HMO companies have different sets of plans for SME and corporate accounts. While there are a few that provide information on these group plans, some don’t have any. There might also be a need to look at the demographics of your employees, age, dependents, etc.
Please take the time to contact the HMO companies and schedule for a meeting. The list of products below is in no way a complete representative of what is available in the market.
|GreatValue Program||CareHealthPlus Systems International||Renewable healthcare plan available for Group/Corporate|
|ROYAL HEALTH ADVANTAGE||Eastwest Healthcare, Inc||5 to 99 members|
|Exceptional Care for Group||Fortune Medicare, Inc||At least 20 enrollees|
|Group Account for small group||Fortune Medicare, Inc||Minimum of 10 enrollees|
|SME Fit Plan||Intellicare||20 to 50 enrollees (including depdnents)|
|Short Term Healthcare mini-group, group, SME||Kaiser International Healthgroup, Inc||Group Rates 50 – 99 members, variants: H500, H800, H1200, H1900, H2600 and H160, H2800, H3200, H4200|
|Short-term healthcare Corporate||Kaiser lnternational Healthgroup, Inc||Group Rates 100 to 299 members, variants: H500, H800, H1200, H1900, H2600 and H160, H2800, H3200, H4200|
|H500, H800, H1200, H1900, H2600 and H160, H2800, H3200, H4200||Kaiser lnternational Healthgroup, Inc||Group rates 10-49|
|Maxicare BusinessEssential||Maxicare||3 employees, 99 enrollees|
|Maxicare Plus||Maxicare||10 principals, 99 enrollees|
|Maxicare Starter Plan||Maxicare||At least 3 – 9 principals and up to 99 enrollees|
|Corporate Group Plan||MetroCare Heallh Systems, Inc.||Baby Group (5 to 19), Regular group (20 to 100), Third Party Agreement for more than 300 members|
|Comprehensive Premium Based||Optimum Medical & Health Care||At least 10 employees|
|Third Party Administration||Optimum Medical & Health Care||Based on corporate needs|
|BC Flexi Access||Pacific Cross Health Care. Inc||at least 20 employees|
How can an HMO plan help you?
But why pay for an HMO plan when we can go directly to a doctor for a check-up or hospital for confinement? Why do you need to buy insurance?
The reason is that medical expenses can be huge. When you are admitted in a hospital, the bills can run up to tens of thousands to millions of pesos. An admission to an emergency ward to get immediate medical attention, undergoing surgeries, or receiving intensive care can be costly too.
It’s good if we have the money to pay for them. And even if we do have savings, it may not be enough to cover the bills. For most of us Filipinos, that’s just not the case. We can become poor or even poorer, forced to sell properties, borrow money, declare bankruptcy, or even refuse to be admitted for fear of being a burden to the family.
An HMO plan is a safety net from the personal crisis of being sick. In exchange for a fee and as a form of insurance, it pays the hospital bill up to a certain benefit limit. Plan-holders generally don’t have to pay any deposit for admission especially when admitted in hospitals within the network of healthcare providers accredited by the HMO company, while those who don’t have a plan might be asked to pay a deposit amount upfront.
What is the difference between Philhealth, HMO, critical illness insurance and life insurance?
Philhealth is required by the government for all people who are working, and membership is open to voluntary members such as freelancers, self-employed, and those who are out of work. It is a means to provide universal health care in the country as established by “The National Health Insurance Act of 1995” (Republic Act 7875), and it pays a certain amount for a particular disease that is being treated in the hospital.
However, Philhealth coverage can be inadequate and this is where private HMO plan can provide relief. It can pay up to a limit for any covered medical services. Both Philhealth and HMO pay healthcare providers directly. In case that you’ve availed of the service outside of the network, reimbursement may be an option.
The critical illness policy can add more cover than what Philhealth membership and HMO plan can provide. It is beneficial especially when coming down with any one of the diseases whose treatments can be quite expensive, such as a heart surgery. Unlike Philhealth and HMO plan, the amount is given to the client.
The purpose of life insurance is to take care of end-of-life expenses.
Health insurance/HMO companies in the Philippines
In the Philippines, HMO companies are regulated by the Insurance Commission. Here is the official list in alphabetical order below.
- Asalus Corporation (Intellicare)
- Asian Care Health Systems, Inc.
- Avega Managed Care, Inc.
- CareHealthPlus Systems International
- Carewell Health Systems, Inc.
- Caritas Health Shield, Inc.
- Cooperative Health Management Federation
- Dynamic Care Corporation
- Eastwest Healthcare, Inc
- Fortune Medicare, Inc
- Getwell Health Systems, Inc.
- Health Care & Development Corporation of the Philippines
- Health Maintenance, Inc
- Health Plan Phils., Inc.
- IMS Wellth Care, Inc
- Insular Health Care, Incorporated
- Kaiser International Healthgroup, Inc
- Life & Health HMP, Inc
- Marzan Health Care, Inc
- Maxicare Healthcare Corporation
- Medicard Philippines, Inc
- Medicare Plus, Inc.
- Medicare Health Systems, Inc
- MetroCare Health Systems, Inc.
- Optimum Medical & Health Care
- Pacific Cross Health Care. Inc
- Philhealth Care, Inc.
- Stotsenberq Healthcare Systems
- Transnational Medical & Diagnostic Center, Inc
- Ultima Health Systems, Inc
- Value Care Health System, Inc.
In addition, there are life insurance companies that also offer HMO plans including
- Philippine AXA Life Insurance Corporation (through their product Global Health Access)
- Philam Life (through their product AIA Med-Assist)
The top 10 HMO companies in the Philippines
See below the list of Philippine HMO companies with the highest membership fees for 2018.
|Maxicare HealthCare||13.8 billion|
|Medicard Philippines||8.1 billion|
|Caritas Health Shield||2.4 billion|
|Philhealth Care||2.22 billion|
|Value Care Health System||1.68 billion|
|Eastwest Health Care||877 million|
|Avega Managed Care||648 million|
|Insular Health Care||433 million|
|Pacific Cross Health Care||250 million|
- Maxicare HealthCare has a network of over 56,000 healthcare professionals and over a thousand institutions for a client base of 1.3 million Filipinos. Under the Equicom group, the company is founded in 1987.
- Intellicare was established as Asalus Corporation on November 21, 1995. In 2003, it became known by its present name. It has a network of over 43,500 doctors and specialists, and it reached a million members in 2016.
- MediCard Philippines Inc. has a network of 1,000 medical institutions across the country and boasts of over 51,000 physicians addressing healthcare needs of nearly a million members. The company was founded in 1986.
- Instituted in 1995, Caritas Health Shield has over 92 offices located nationwide servicing 650,000 members. The company has 13,000 healthcare practitioners of various fields and specializations.
- PhilCare was established as Philippine Health Systems in 1982 and when it was acquired by Philippine American Life Insurance Company two years later it was known as PhilamCare and then by its current corporate brand upon acquisition by Maestro Holdings in 2009.
- Established in 1997, Value Care Health System has branches in major cities Cebu, Davao and Iloilo.
- Eastwest Health Care is HMO providing services for the medical needs of over 132,000 members in the country. With almost 600 companies as members, the company has 900 accredited hospitals and clinics and 12,000 medical professionals.
- Avega Managed Care has 49,000 physicians from various medical specializations and 2,800 partner medical institutions. The company has 15 offices spread across the archipelago.
- Insular Health Care is a subsidiary of the Insular Life, a life insurance company.
- Pacific Cross Health Care was organized and known as State Bonding and Insurance Company, Inc. in 1949. The medical insurance division was established in 1977 and by 1986, the company rebranded as Blue Cross. In line with its regional reach in Asia, the company changed to the current name in 2015 and has sister companies in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.
What are the things to look for in an HMO plan?
With so many options to choose from, you may now be at a loss on what to do. Here are some of the important things that can help you make a decision in purchasing a PH HMO plan.
These are very salient points that you should go over with the provider or sales agent. You need to ask about them so that your expectations are set right from the get-go.
Here are the things that you may want to discuss.
- Issue age
- Cover age
- Mode of availment
What benefits are you expecting to get? What healthcare services are guaranteed to be paid and under what conditions? Remember that a less costly plan such as a prepaid card may mean there are only very specific situations that they can be used. A few of the things worth looking into are:
- daily rate for room and board (ward, semi-private, private, suite, etc)
- any benefit limit of any healthcare services
- any benefit limit on certain diseases
- network of hospitals, clinics, diagnostic laboratories, etc.
The plan’s coverage may also spell out exclusions. Exclusions are circumstances, services, or conditions where no benefits are released. This can include pre-existing conditions, certain dreaded diseases, conditions (such as pregnancy), even elective medical procedures, surgeries, etc.
Issue age is the range of ages that customers are eligible to purchase the plan. Falling outside of this range means that you are not qualified. For instance, a kid’s plan may require that the child is at least 6 months old and no older than 17 years old. An individual policy may require issue age between 18 and 60 years old, and one that’s for senior citizens 61 until 100 years old.
Cover age is the age that the plan terminates. For example, a plan might have an issue age of 18 – 60 years old with coverage up until 65 years old. This means clients who are within the range can apply, while the coverage continues until they are 65 years old. By which time it terminates. Stated differently, while potential clients who are 61 – 65 years old can no longer apply, existing clients who activated the plan on or before 60th birthday can still enjoy the coverage until the age of 65.
Does the plan allow dependents?
If not, then it is strictly an individual plan. If yes, then that means that it is a group (SME, corporate, etc) or family plan. At times the coverage for dependents are the same as the principal insured, other times they may have an entirely different, sometimes lower, set of benefits.
Another salient point to talk about is the mode of availment. Unlike critical illness insurance where cash is given directly to you, an HMO plan may facilitate the payment directly to the healthcare industry so no money goes through you. Unless if it has a term insurance or hospital income protection clause where you get a lump sum or an allowance for each day being confined.
You may also need to see if the plan is a co-pay. A co-pay arrangement means that you pay a portion of the final bill. Some plans would also require that you pay the first ₱10,000 and then the remaining amount is split to be paid by you, Philhealth, and the HMO company.
Another thing that is also worth noting is that there is consequence if you avail of the service outside of the network. You may be asked an LOA (letter of authorization) before you can get medical care. Some plans would reimburse any amount you’ve paid, others will not honor the bill so you end up paying all of it.
How much are you going to pay?
Premium, which is the amount that you’re going to be asked to pay to the HMO company, is going to depend on a lot of things. Some plans would have a fixed premium based on your age and gender. Others would rely on many factors such as your state of health, result of some lab tests, medical history, your family’s history of illnesses, any past hospital admission, diagnosis of any diseases, etc.
Check too on other extra charges such as access fee, membership dues, etc.
One other thing to take note of is the required mode of payment: deposit, online cash transfer, payment center, cash, etc. See if they also accept premium paid every month, quarter, semi-annual or year. Some companies offer discount if you choose an annual payment.
How to apply for HMO plan in the Philippines
1. Know your healthcare cover needs
The first thing to do is know your financial status. Check how vulnerable you can be financially speaking if you, your family or an employee gets sick.
- Is your emergency fund enough? Think of how much cash you have available that can be accessed during uncertain times (accident, injuries, illness, etc). Think of assets that you’re willing to liquidate to get through the tough times.
- Check existing Philhealth benefits, any existing critical illness plan, and insurance to ensure that you do not get over- or under-insured.
- See if you’ve already been included in an HMO plan through your parents, sibling, or employer.
- Generally speaking, it is better to get a plan while you’re still young and healthy.
- Would you want an individual, family, SME/corporate plan, or senior citizens?
2. Shop around
Once you identify what you need, then it is time that you look for a plan and provider. If you just want an inconvenient way to get coverage for basic services such as unlimited consultations, one-time use of outpatient or emergency care, then you may be better off with prepaid cards.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a comprehensive package you may the review the tables of the HMO plans above. You may want to visit the website of the companies. You may send them an email or reach out to them via telephone.
If you know someone like a friend or family or even an acquaintance is into health care insurance industry, then you can ask for a quote. Make sure that you spell out exactly what you need, your budget, etc.
You may check the following:
- Compare coverage. Check similar plans in terms of premium, coverage, exclusions, and other the items discussed above about what to look for in a plan.
- First impression. Are they responsive? Is the customer service great?
- Convenience. Are the accredited clinics, hospitals and other medical facilities near your place of work or residence?
- Feedback. Ask around. There may be someone you know who has acquired a plan, had availed of the service, and has many first-hand feedback about the provider.
How can you make sure that it is a legitimate HMO company?
The company should be registered with Insurance Commission so you’d know they’re legitimate. Some companies are members of national groups, such as Philippine Association of Health Maintenance Organization Companies (PAHMOC) or the Association of Health Maintenance Organizations of the Philippines, Inc. (AHMOPI)
3. Fill out the application forms in good faith.
Once you have narrow down your choices and decide on one plan, prepare the initial premium payment. Several company would require that you put up at least the first month’s payment, others would ask you to pay six months in advance.
When you fill out the forms, you’d be asked to declare information regarding your state of health. Please be honest. Fill out past confinement, diagnosis, prescribed medicines, results of lab/diagnostic tests, treatments received, etc.
If you conceal, fail to disclose or misrepresent any relevant medical information, there is a chance that the contract is going to be voided and cannot be enforced. The company may refuse to cover expenses at the moment you’d need to avail of a medical service.
At this point, you might be asked too to undergo some tests such as X-ray, urine test, etc. Follow the instructions as given to you by the company. Your ability to open a plan might depend on the results.
4. Wait for the contract.
Once your plan is approved, wait for the contract to be delivered. Some companies would give out a health card. The card is presented when you’d like to avail of services within or outside of the network. Make sure that you understand the contract so there won’t be any snags during the time that you’d need the coverage.
It is likewise important to take note of the contact details of agents, reps, liaison officers, healthcare providers, etc. You may need them if you’d like to ask updates of your account, clarify some questions, or in times of emergency.Tags