OFWs from KSA whose conditions will be classified under ‘fortuitous events’ category assured of PhilHealth’s benefit packages

MANILA — The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is making close coordination with the Consular Office of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), along with other Philippine government agencies, regarding the PhilHealth coverage of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) with problems on medical assistance access.

In a “Kapihan with the PCEO” held in Pasig City on Friday, PhilHealth acting Chief Executive Officer Ramon Aristoza Jr. said they are awaiting the list of the exact numbers of OFWs who will return to the country and will be provided with the needed medical assistance and qualify in the case rates packages for the treatment of their illnesses in the hospitals in the country where they will be referred by the humanitarian team to the KSA.

“But, of course, we need numbers — we need figures of how many are those displaced because of the crisis they faced in the Middle East,” Aristoza added.

He assured that the said OFWs in KSA, who are being convinced to return home by the Philippine Team comprising of different medical, social workers and staffs from various agencies of the government, who will be assessed to be needing medical confinement and treatment, will be attended by classifying them under the coverage provided for those who suffered under the category of “fortuitous events.”

Aristoza said that while there is a probability that some of the OFWs in KSA facing the crisis have failed to pay their premiums because of the financial problems, their health insurance and even membership in PhilHealth has probably lapsed also, the health coverage that they are entitled to will not be denied to them.

“Actually, may mga existing policies kami in cases of calamities –- man-made or fortuitous event — na sinuspend namin yung ating mga policies on eligibility,” he explained.

As an example of that, he said that the same rule was applied among the super typhoon “Yolanda” victims in 2013 wherein they provided the payment of the cost of the hospitalization incurred by the individuals affected because they had classified them under “fortuitous events.”

Aristoza said the same policy was also applied among those hurt or injured in the Zamboanga siege in September 2013.

He further said that they are also checking now through close coordination with the Consular Office of KSA on the number of OFWs affected by crisis who were confined or admitted in hospitals in Saudi Arabia.

Prior to this, the Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday assured that its medical team that flew to KSA will conduct assessment to evaluate who among the OFWs therein are needing treatment for the illnesses that they are suffering so that necessary health intervention can be made as part of the mission to bring them back safely to the country as instructed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Initially, the plan of the DOH is to provide the immediate medicines and psycho-social treatment with the end=goal of convincing them back in the country, especially those whose medical conditions need treatment or confinement in hospital facilities. Leilani Junio/PNA/northboundasia.com