Working freelance can be an envious idea for fixed-time employees. The idea of being on top of your schedule without the need of dragging yourself up every morning to get yourself at the office on time or squeezing yourself on a bus every afternoon rush seems to be a perfect thing. What is even more exciting about this job is that you could schedule your own break, and oversee your house needs while working in your pajamas. You could even take two, three or more jobs at a time if you can, which is very unlikely for a regular job that eats up your time. It is no wonder that more and more regular employees quit their jobs to work freelance.
These are all too good to be true. There is no perfect world as they say. Though what had been mentioned are the good points of working freelance, before you immediately decide to quit your job, weigh the pros and cons of each. One disadvantage is that you will miss the benefits provided to regular employees like the health care benefit.
Paying for your own health care plan should not be taken for granted. If you had previously used the health card provided by your employer in one of the reputable hospitals in the country, you must have an idea on how much you saved. Can you imagine losing that privilege and pay medical bills out of your pocket?
If you don’t want to spend all your earnings from your freelance job better get a healthcare plan. It is not as expensive or as difficult as you think. Here is a list of some of the health insurance providers in the country that you might want to consider.
The following may not be the complete list of the members of the two organizations. This is the list of the members that offer health insurance plan for individual or family members. Some offer group or corporate plans but I have a great feeling that one of these may have what you look for a health care plan. (All price quoted are based on a 30 year old male or female. Premiums differ per age.)
PHILHEALTH (as low as Php 200/month)
This is the government subsidized health care provider. It is more affordable compared to other private plans but does not offer comprehensive package as others do. Check for the benefit coverage it offers so you’ll see if you’d need additional private health care plan.
- It provides room and board subsidy, laboratory exam, and professional fees for confinement of more than 24 hours.
- It also provides out-patient benefits
- It offers special benefit package like treatments for TB, SARS, H1N1 and other special illnesses.
- Some cases classified as non-cost-effective as defined by PhilHealth are subject to approval like optometric services, non prescription drugs and services, fifth obstetrical deliveries and the like.
Blue Cross (as low as Php530/month)
Blue Cross is a member of Association of Health Maintenance Organizations of the Philippines Inc. (AHMOPI) providing medical and travel insurance. The following are good points to consider why to choose this health provider
- It provides maximum coverage limit of up to Php 3,000,000.00 and fully reimbursable on eligible medical bills depending on your insurance coverage
- It allows flexibility by letting you choose your own hospital, clinic or doctor.
- It offers comprehensive coverage
- Medical benefits are extended even when you travel
- 24/7 customer assistance is available for emergency needs
MEDICARD (as low as Php650/month)
This is the HMO usually provided by employers due to low cost of premium. Not too many may be aware that they also offer individual or family health care plan. Make sure to keep a list of the accredited hospital because they will reimburse you only 80% of the expenses not exceeding Php 5,000 if you’d been to non-accredited hospital in emergency cases. The following are the other benefits they offer:
- Hospital confinement
- Out-patient care
- Preventive Health care
- Emergency Care
- Dental Benefits
INSULAR HEALTH CARE (as low as Php1150/month)
This company is part of Insular Life Assurance Inc which has been in business for more than 100 years. It is formerly known as I-Care. Here is the list why you would like to consider this provider
- It offers competitive rate. For the exact premium rate, you might want to check directly with the company because that depends on every individual. To give you an idea, dental benefit costs only Php 336/member/year
- It has built-in life insurance. Being a member of the Insular Life Group, each policyholder is entitled of life insurance benefit depending on the coverage and on the schedule of benefits.
- It does not require PhilHealth membership. They pay 100% of the eligible medical charges.
- Reimburses up to Php 1,000.00 of the prescribed medicines.
- Offers convenience because they are hospital-based.
- They do not require pre-enrollment medical examination.
- Provides free annual physical examination.
SUN LIFE PHILIPPINES(as low as Php1250/month)
Sun Life is not a member of AHMOPI but under direct regulation of the Insurance Commission. Among all the insurance companies operating in the Philippines, it was ranked number 1 in 2013. One of the protections they offer is the Sun First Aid. Here is the list why you will choose this product.
- It has a money back feature that is unique from other insurance policies. They will give back 50% to 75% of the premiums paid after ten years whether the policy holder had been hospitalized or not.
- It offers financial assistance in case of hospitalization. There is cash benefit directly given to the policyholder when confined, if hospitalization exceeds 30days, or if surgery was performed.
- It also offers benefits like those you will find in life insurance policies like, life insurance coverage, waiver of premium in case of disability, and accident rider.
In choosing a health care insurance, it is advisable to choose one that is regulated by the AHMOPI or by the Insurance Commission (IC) itself. AHMOPI is the body that regulates HMO providers in the country. Getting one from a regulated insurance company adds another level of protection to your insurance. The organization will act as mediator between the policy holder and the insurance provider in case of disputes or any irregularities in providing the benefits.
When choosing a health insurance there should always be a perfect mix of quality and quantity. Although you are paying very cheaply in your health insurance make sure that it qualifies to all your bare requirements, such as availability of accredited hospitals or clinics in your area, treatments that you deemed important for your condition and if it will save you from all the headache of following up in your reimbursements because when it comes to health, money can be scarce. So we better make wise decisions!