Victor Maglangit, 52, of District 2, Barangay Puntod, Cagayan de Oro City has trouble walking. He struggles to balance his body after a recent stroke that paralyzed his left arm and left leg.
After his stroke on June 20, Victor was brought to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) for medication. During his seven-day admission at NMMC, Victor could not help but worry over his mounting hospital bill.
After being discharged from the hospital, Victor immediately asked his wife, Marilyn, to inquire about their bill at the cashier so that they can look for someone to help them pay the amount.
To Marilyn’s surprise, the cashier told her that they had nothing to worry about because the hospitalization, medicines, and professional fee for the doctors were all free.
“Ayha pa nako nadumdoman nga libre man diay kay Pantawid Pamilya man diay ko (I realized then that they were all free because I am a Pantawid Pamilya beneficiary),” Marilyn said.
Marilyn recalled that Victor was hesitant to be brought to the hospital but she insisted, saying that someone once told her that Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries can avail of health coverage under the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). Marilyn said that she only presented her Pantawid Pamilya identification card to the hospital’s admission office.
Upon learning this, Victor was thankful that his family is a beneficiary of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.
“Wala jud ko nagtuo nga libre diay to tanan (I never imagined that it would all be free),” he said, his voice breaking.
“I am happy that more families are now seeking medical help for their illnesses. Before, they were discouraged from seeking medical help for fear of the high cost of hospitalization. Their PhilHealth membership has given them the courage to face their health challenges,” Sec. Soliman said.
Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is a human development program that invests in the health and education of poor families, primarily those with children aged 0-18. It provides cash grants to partner-beneficiaries who comply with the conditions of sending their children to school, bringing them to health centers for checkups, and attending the monthly Family Development Sessions (FDS).
In 2012, DSWD and PhilHealth partnered to provide health care for the poor. Some 14.7 million indigent individuals aged 21 and above identified through the DSWD’s Listahanan database of the poor are now PhilHealth card holders. Of the total, almost 4.4 million Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries are enrolled under the PhilHealth program as sponsored members.
As Sponsored Members, they are entitled to full benefits including the case rate payments for 23 medical and surgical cases wherein they no longer need to pay in excess of the PhilHealth set benefits in government facilities.
They can also avail of the ‘Z’ benefit package for catastrophic illnesses such as childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia (P210,000), breast cancer (P100,000), prostate cancer (P100,000), and kidney transplant (P600,000).
This package is available in all PhilHealth-accredited hospitals nationwide. Beneficiaries also enjoy primary care benefits such as consultations, regular blood pressure monitoring, promotive health education on breastfeeding, and counseling on lifestyle modification and smoking cessation. Medicines for diseases like asthma and acute gastroenteritis (with mild or no dehydration), upper respiratory tract infection/pneumonia, and urinary tract infection are also provided by accredited healthcare providers.
To avail of health care benefits, the beneficiaries will just have to present their household ID numbers at accredited hospitals in the country.
Now, Victor is doing daily exercises to immediately recuperate from the stroke. He is helped by his wife Marilyn and their son during the routine.
Through DSWD’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation, the Department is also facilitating Victor’s request for assistance to defray the cost of his daily drug maintenance.