THE Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) in Northern Mindanao launched on Wednesday its first-ever “one-two-punch” promo over ABS-CBN’s morning show “Pamahaw Espesyal.”

Merlyn Ybañez, PhilHealth public relations officer, said the promo is aimed at encouraging individually-paying or voluntary remitting premium members to pay their whole year premiums to avail of the benefits from PhilHealth.

Ybañez said it is the policy of PhilHealth to cancel the health benefits of a member if he or she fails to continuously pay the quarterly premiums during the year.

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“Let’s say, if a member pays the first quarter premium of the year but was unable to pay for the second quarter and got sick and needed to be confined, then most likely, PhilHealth could not release any reimbursements after confinement or they would not be given priority at the hospital,” Ybañez said.

Accordingly, if a patient declares his or her membership with the PhilHealth valid, he or she is prioritized for confinement at any government or private hospitals.

Through this program, Ybañez said a member is secured of the benefits, while enjoying the promo.

Under the program, Ybañez said if a member pays in advance his or her premiums for one year, he or she will receive P100 worth of gift certificates while a two-year advance payment is entitled to P200 worth of gift certificates and a three-year advance payment entitles a member to avail of P300 worth of groceries.

She said a member could only avail of the benefits with PhilHealth on medical treatment if he or she was able to pay the last three months premiums within the six-month period set by the government insurance provider.

For surgical cases, a member can avail of the reimbursements if he or she paid nine months premiums within the 12-month period.

“So, why worry of the benefits when they can be secured the whole year round by simply paying their premiums in advance,” Ybañez said.

Established in 1999, PhilHealth’s Individually Paying Program is open to self-practicing professionals, freelance writers and photographers, artists, employees of religious and civic organizations and Philippine-based international organizations.

The program also welcomes self-employed individuals, farmers, fisherfolks and even daily wage earners such as vendors and transport drivers and operators.

Health insurance premiums are remitted voluntarily at any accredited payments centers on a quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis. (Loui S. Maliza)