Healthcare in the Philippines



The Philippines is known to be one of the best destinations for medical tourism in Asia. This reputation is attributed to the affordable cost of treatment, hospitals and other health facilities and, of course, the world-class competence of most doctors and other medical professionals.

Healthcare in the Philippines is spearheaded by the Department of Health using a multi-dimensional approach to creating a culture of health among its citizens. Expats may not directly benefit from any of these efforts, but the general standard of the country's healthcare system will. Healthcare in the Philippines is, however, predominantly favourable for its expatriate communities. Ask any foreigner who has lived in the country for a long time, and he'll be quick to say healthcare has been the least of his worries - thanks to the low cost of medicines and health services.

Healthcare Coverage

The Republic of the Philippines has a universal healthcare system called the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation or PhilHealth, a government organisation that operates under the Department of Health (DOH). PhilHealth’s was established in 1995 and since then, has been upholding its mandate which is ““to provide health insurance coverage and ensure affordable, acceptable, available and accessible healthcare services for all citizens of the Philippines.” Funding for this public healthcare scheme comes primarily from general taxation or contributions deducted automatically from the employees’ monthly salaries.

Expats in the Philippines may only take advantage of the benefits from PhilHealth if they are married to Filipino citizens and have been declared as dependents. Because of this circumstance, foreign nationals in this country are strongly advised to take out private health insurance. The private healthcare sector in the country is currently booming, paving the way for a wide selection of healthcare policies available to expats, including specialized packages catering to individual expat needs. Some of these packages include switching the terms of current policy, even with a different company, to an expat health policy without having to go through long, exhaustive procedures.

Visiting a Doctor

Aside from affordability, the competence of the Philippine healthcare teams from the nurses up to the doctors is high. Most medical practitioners are either graduate of top universities here or abroad or have practised for a considerable amount of time in offshore medical settings. Currently, the country is experiencing a shortage of medical professionals because a huge majority of Filipino licensed physicians have decided to practice abroad. However, expats shouldn’t worry because many highly-trained doctors are still in the country especially the big cities such as Metro Manila and Cebu.

As healthcare is essentially anchored on communication between the client and the provider, expats will find it advantageous dealing with the English proficient medical staff in Philippine hospitals and clinics. Due to their proficiency with the English language, the chance of miscommunication is greatly reduced, and hence, a higher degree of satisfaction is more likely.

Prescription Drugs

Medicines play a key component in every successfully functioning healthcare system, and their wide availability is a sign of this success. The Philippines plays host to over thirty pharmaceutical companies with trained, skilled and committed professionals who not only understand the industry from the vantage point of business but also from a humanitarian view. The Philippines is one of the hardest places to obtain a prescription drug without a prescription. The Food and Drug Administration, as well as the medical community, are very strict about this rule, and anyone who violates this law faces penalties.

Hospitals in the Philippines

Filipinos seek medical treatment from either a public or private hospital or health centre. Both render quality services as doctors in the Philippines are some of the brightest in Asia. However, public facilities may have limited tools, and patients may not be as comfortable as when they would be treated in a private facility.

A private hospital in the Philippines charges higher than a public one. The cost is cheaper by international standards, and local, and expat patients may use their insurance. Hospitals in this country are top-rate and fully equipped with all the latest gadgets, paraphernalia and machines necessary to meet patients' medical needs and deal with emergencies. Notable top medical institutions are:

Gen. Luna St, Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila

Tel: (02) 523 8131

2205 Civic Dr, Alabang, Muntinlupa, 1780 Metro Manila

Tel: (02) 771 9000

MMC Building, 2, Amorsolo Street, Village, Legaspi, Makati, 1229 Metro Manila

Tel: (02) 888 8999

Ortigas Ave, Pasig, Metro Manila

Tel: (02) 988 1000

279 E Rodriguez Sr. Ave, Quezon City, 1112 Metro Manila

Tel: (02) 723 0101