OFWs bring fight vs PhilHealth fee hike online

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by: Maria Aleta Nieva Nishimori,

MANILA, Philippines – Once again, overseas Filipino workers around the globe are using the power of social media to get their message across–this time, to air their opposition to Philhealth’s fee increase in OFWs annual premium.

The Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards (PEBA) Facebook Page has become a venue for Filipinos working abroad to share their sentiments on the matter. Their campaign, a resounding “NO to 100% INCREASE from P1,200 to P2,400 to all OFWs“.

“Isang taos pusong panawagan mula sa mga OFW para po sa Presidente ng PhilHealth na si Dr. Eduardo Banzon. Hindi po lahat ng OFW pare-pareho ang sweldo at hindi lahat nakikinabang sa serbisyo.”

“Sana po wag niyo nang dagdagan ng 100% ang bayarin namin na SAPILITAN mula P1,200 ay magiging P2,400 sa January 01, 2013. Ma-improve sana muna po yung mga benefits para sa mga OFW,” the OFWs’ campaign said.

PhilHealth deferred the implementation of the new fee in the OFWs annual premium from July 1, 2012 to January 1, 2013, due to the requests from civil society and non government organizations.

“Share po natin mga Kabayan hanggang sa umabot muli sa kanila. Samahan niyo po kami ulit sa isang pagbabago sa sistemang hinayaan natin ngunit inabuso,” PEBA said on its Facebook wall.

Aside from Facebook, the group is also encouraging OFWs who are using Twitter to share their campaign.

“Who is into Twitter? Use the hashtag #Noto2400, #XPhilhealth to tweet to different media and government officials directing to our call to stop the 100% increase!” they said.

Enlarged benefits for OFWs

For its part, PhilHealth has vowed to deliver higher benefit payments and improved services to OFWs and their dependents.

“The required annual contribution stays at P1,200 this year, or less than P3.50 per day, with respect to OFWs. Their adjusted premium of less than P7 daily, or P2,400 per annum, won’t take effect until January next year,” said Banzon in a press statement.

Banzon added: “We are building up our capacity to provide greater value for money to our members – our customers, including OFWs. We are constantly enriching benefits and enhancing services”.

He said OFWs and other individually paying Philhealth members may enjoy a 50 percent discount if they decide to pay their annual contributions for 2012 and 2013 in advance on or before June 30.

“Instead of shelling out P1,200 and P2,400 for their 2012 and 2013 annual premiums respectively, or a total of P3,600, they may pay only P2,400 on or before June 30, and they will be fully covered up to December 31, 2013,” he said.

He said Philhealth covers around 2.52 million OFWs plus 2.48 million of their dependents.

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