THE Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) field office in Tacloban City is expanding its reach in Leyte province through the opening of express outlets in malls and supermarkets.

Ric Wesley Carillo, head of the PhilHealth Tacloban office, said it has always been the goal of the state health insurance firm to bring the services closer to members.

“We really pushed for the reopening of our express office at the mall because it is very convenient to the public. The demand for health insurance services will further increase the foot traffic in the mall,” Carillo said.

Carillo said they conceptualized setting up of PhilHealth offices in 2011. They negotiated for a free office space. After the opening in Tacloban in 2012, the concept was introduced in all Robinsons Malls nationwide.

Before the Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck in November 2013, the mall-based office used to serve 200 transactions. After three years, the office reopened on February 13.

PhilHealth Tacloban also strengthened its Express office at Gaisano Central by adding two more personnel to accommodate up to 12,000 clients monthly.

The state health insurance firm is also eyeing the operation of express offices in other major shops in Tacloban and some parts of Leyte.

The frontline services available include acceptance of member amendment forms, application forms for new members, premium payments, printing of PhilHealth identification cards, and updating of member data record.

“It is now more accessible. This would help me save time and money because I don’t have to go to their office anymore to process papers,” said Gretchen Vergara, a self-employed PhilHealth member from Tolosa, Leyte.

The mall-based offices open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., including weekends. Shop owners provide free space to PhilHealth believing that its presence will further increase foot traffic in their stores. (PNA)