Tag Archives: health care

Investing in affordable health care is easy with PhilCare’s ER Vantage

I was 33 years old when I realized how unprepared my husband and I was for life’s emergencies.

It all started with a throbbing, steady pain, said my husband. He would wake up at 12 midnight staying until 3AM, silently bearing the pain on his right abdomen.

After months of trying to keep it from me, I woke up one morning to see him curled silently in the couch downstairs. The check-up and all the tests that followed confirmed our suspicion: gall stones, which was then pressing already to the small opening leading to his liver. After months and months of tests, medications and even a complete check on his stomach to make sure there wasn’t any other obstruction — a sudden, sharp pain one Saturday afternoon finally sent us to the Makati Med ER where the doctors immediately scheduled him for surgery.

Our expected expense: about PHP250,000 including doctors’ fees. Our bank account had a total of PHP20,000, give or take a few hundreds.

It was my health card that saved us from all the worries, and gave us the energy to focus on his treatment and on getting the best medical care possible.

After surgery and recovery which constituted the five days he was in the hospital, our total bill came up to PHP220,000. I paid 50 pesos for the portable potty he needed to use; while PhilCare, my health care provider took care of all the rest — hassle-free.

It was that time when I became obsessed on getting any form of health care for my loved ones. Granted that my health care coverage was made possible by employment, I was relieved to note that PhilCare took their services to the next level by introducing a line of prepaid health cards.

The following Christmas, I gave my favorite aunt and uncles PhilCare ER Vantage cards, and encouraged cousins to buy one. Before my father turned 65, I bought him his own ER Vantage.

One of the earlier versions of the current ER Vantage. This served my father well. Having the peace of mind by having any form of health card was my goal always.

It is not surprising that PhilCare would come up with an affordable prepaid card.  Only 4% of Filipinos enjoy HMO coverage, and the bulk of that small percentage have that coverage as a corporate benefit from their employers.  The reality for most Filipinos is that if and when a major health crisis does occur, they simply aren’t prepared.

As one of their most popular products, ER Vantage is available for both children and adults and will cover the bearer for a single use or a period of one year — whichever comes first.

ER Vantage gives you a one-time coverage for emergency room care and hospitalization expenses, inclusive of Doctors’ fees, Laboratory and diagnostic procedures, Room and board (regular private room) Medicines (except vaccines) as medically necessary during confinement except for cases declared as non-coverable, Special modalities of treatment which are medically necessary during ER and confinement and subject to standard inner limits, Diagnostic and therapeutic procedures as medically necessary during ER and confinement

Emergency cases are the sudden, unexpected onset of illness or injury, which at the time of contract reasonably appeared as having the potential of causing immediate disability or death or requiring the immediate alleviation of severe pain and discomfort. Emergency cases include but are not limited to Massive Bleeding; Acute Appendicitis; Fractures/multiple injuries secondary to accidents; Convulsions; illnesses or conditions resulting in moderate or severe dehydration such as diarrhea or fever; and Syncope. Pre-existing conditions and those conditions under the general exclusions of PhilCare are not covered.  In addition, ER Vantage comes with a death of dismemberment payout.


The latest version of the ER Vantage – can’t wait to have this again as a gift for the oldies this Christmas

Prices for ER Vantage for adults range from Php 1,050 to Php 4,950, amount of coverage is between Php 40,000 to Php 80,000 depending on the ER Vantage card/voucher purchased.  For kids the prices range between Php 2,950 to Php 4,950.

In my family, I have a lot of aunts and uncles who have no children, or those with no means to get their own health card. Like before, I’ve bowed to get them the ER Vantage Plus 40 for Christmas.

I know, it’s a bit pricey as a Christmas gift for the extended family, but since these are my favorite aunt and uncles — and from experience — would depend on our help during medical emergencies. Giving them the security and protection afforded by a health card is worth it.


If you want to know more about ER Vantage or shop for your own:   http://shop.philcare.com.ph/index.php?route=product/search&search=er%20vantage%20plus



PR: Health care goes digital: Aster Clinic Pioneers Paperless System through its EMR Technology



Just months after it officially launched its Philippine operations, the Aster Medical and Diagnostics Clinic, owned by Aster DM Healthcare, is revolutionizing how medical services is being offered in the country through the introduction of the electronic medical records (EMR) as part of the value-add to its services. All transactions are paperless, from the moment patients sign in at the reception up to their consultations with the doctor, or different doctors at the clinic. 

The goal of EMR is to provide a centralized database that will allow Aster DM Healthcare’s network a seamless delivery of care to its patients. Through the EMR technology, patients are unburdened of the inconvenience of repeating the basic information and details of their concerns over and over again. Their records are inputted in the clinic’s records and will be updated every time they visit or consultations are made, which the doctors in our network can easily refer to for background information. 

Joyce Alumno, president & country manager, Aster DM Healthcare – Philippines stressed that this technology lessens the room for error. With everything documented in one system, patients no longer need to recall past tests or results giving our doctors more accurate background information about their patients. This also eliminates the unnecessary stress of waiting for feedback or doctor’s orders for the reference of the billing section. 

“This technology streamlines the flow of information across our network. Check-ups, as it is, is already stressful and in Aster, we are committed to delivering our promise of treating patients well. From the moment they are welcomed in our reception area and all throughout the process, we want to make it as convenient and stress-free as we possibly can,” Alumno said.

The EMR technology is one of the standard services in Aster’s network and is proud to bring this technology to the Philippines, which is their first operation in the whole Southeast Asian region. 

“We are proud to pioneer this technology in the Philippines. One at a time, we are bringing in systems and technologies that help transform how we do our medical services today,” she highlighted. 

“What started as a way of giving back to the Filipino community paved the way for an opportunity to see what is missing and where we can provide help in an organized manner. Setting up clinics and hospitals is something that we have been doing in the past 28 years across the GCC region, Middle East, and India, and we are hoping to do the same in the Philippines,” Alumno said.

Aster DM Healthcare is one of the largest healthcare conglomerates in the Gulf Region, Middle East, and India. Founded by Dr. Azad Moopen, the Dubai-based healthcare conglomerate is committed in delivering quality and affordable healthcare in the countries where it is present. It first made it presence in the Philippines through its non-profit arm, Dr. Moopen’s (DM) Foundation, when it launched its “Save the Little Hearts” program that granted surgeries to children with congenital heart defects.  

Aster DM Healthcare, the Dubai-headquartered healthcare conglomerate now operates a network of more than 290 establishments covering an array of healthcare verticals – from hospitals, medical centers, pharmacies, diagnostics and specialty centers, healthcare consultancy service, academics & research to a medical college and an advanced medical city. 

For more information about Aster DM Healthcare and DM Foundation, visit http://www.asterdmhealthcare.com and http://www.drmoopensfoundation.org, respectively, or call 53ASTER (27837).

Health care should be for all: PhilCare’s prepaid emergency health cards fill a gap.

The nature of my job and the industry I am in allows me to see a face of health care in the Philippines that is not visible to common Filipinos. Because of my job, I am aware that only 4% of Filipinos have access to efficient health care in the country. This usually means the top hospitals and clinics in the country, helmed by some of the best doctors and most efficient nurses and with access to some of the best technology in the industry.

But what about the rest?

Unfortunately, doing PR within the health care industry means I come across depressing statistics: for example, did you know that six out of 10 Filipinos die without seeing a doctor? While government hospitals are there, we do know that long lines, the sheer density and number of patients and the long wait usually turn off any potential patients. A common (but unfortunate) joke that usually goes around when visiting a local government hospital is that you have to be a step, jump and skip away from death before the dedicated (but overworked) doctors can assist to you due to the number of patients they also see.

Would it be possible for Filipinos to have access to emergency health care at a more affordable cost?


PhilCare ER Vantage Cards
PhilCare ER Vantage Cards

PhilCare, one of the pioneers in the Philippines’ HMO industry, has recently launched its ERVantage products, a line of prepaid emergency health cards that provide easy and immediate access to any of the company’s many affiliated hospitals nationwide during emergency situations.

PhilCare Health Vantage
PhilCare Health Vantage

These prepaid health cards have the following variants:
* ER Vantage (Emergency Care and Hospitalization) for coverage of hospital emergency care leading to hospitalization, including the ERV40 (P900 for one-time coverage per year up to P40,000 health benefits), ERV60 (P1,100 for one-time coverage per year up to P60,000 health benefits), and ERV80 (P1,300 for one-time coverage per year up to P80,000 health benefits) variants

* ER Shield (ERS) for out-patient hospital emergency room coverage for one-time coverage per year, available for P800 with up to P50,000 in health benefits

* Smart Check-Up (SCB) for annual physical examination or pre-employment package available for P499 that includes tests such as Medical History Taking, Physical Examination, Chest X-Ray, Complete Blood Count, Urinalysis, and Fecalysis

Both the ER Vantage and ER Shield cards are inclusive of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, nationwide access to more than 400 designated PhilCare affiliated hospitals, Go!Mobile app access, as well as PhilCare 360 participation. The SCB card, meanwhile, may be used at any PhilCare Clinics and Hi-Precision branches in Metro Manila.

For as low as PHP800, any one can have the opportunity to receive premium and immediate emergency medical attention to any of PhilCare’s affiliated designated hospitals in the country. What’s PHP800? That’s just a quick round of burgers and fries for a group of three in any of the high-end burger places in Makati. PHP800 is a prepaid cellphone load good for a month; it’s also a pair of jeans from Forever21 or H&M.

My point is, we Filipinos often times find a way to buy the latest gadgets and even the latest phone accessories for our Smart Phones. Don’t you think it’s also wise to invest a small amount to take care of your self? After all, at the end of the day, you’re not just buying a card promising you prepaid emergency health plan — you are buying yourself peace of mind and the comfort of knowing that you will be taken cared of during times of emergency.

For more information or to purchase, go to www.philcare.com.ph

Of health and peace of mind

I am sorry for the long absence.

My husband spent four days in the hospital following an emergency surgery to remove his swollen gallbladder. The danged gallbladder have been acting up since November of last year, after a really sumptuous buffet sent the hubby reeling due to stomach pain. An operation or even a full blown hospital check up was out of the question that time. We were just starting from our respective jobs and we both don’t have health insurance or an HMO card that will take care of our hospital bills.

By February of this year, I got regularized and got issued a health card and spent the next few months going back to a gastroenterologist, and basically just trying to find ways to get rid of the pain. It all came down last Saturday night, when he had to beg me to bring him to the emergency room due to extreme pain.

in sickness and in health

That is where it all came down. Following a stint at the hospital room, both of us decided to get rid of the problematic organ once and for all. We knew that in spite the first aid, we had to get to the bottom of the problem. We decided to schedule for operation. It was the best way to remove the pain, plus we were confident that our current health card will cover the cost of hospitalization.

The thing is — in this country — getting sick and being given the best medical health care does not always add up. That is the reason why there are people who rather self medicate or go to faith healers just to get a temporary relief from whatever pain they experience. For the urban poor, going to the doctor is already considered a luxury. Sad as it may seem, people do not have the means to get quality health care if they do not have the job (which will give them health cards) or the money to pay for hospitalization outright.

Sure enogh, the hubby’s bills was humongous — reaching in the upper five figures, and still without the doctor’s and anesthesiologists fees. Outside, I was trying to give out an air that everything will be okay, in order for him not to panic and just concentrate on getting better. But deep inside, I was screaming like mad. Thoughts like, will our insurance even cover it? Where on earth will I get less than 100,000 pesos (roughly USD2300). For four days, I kept praying that the health card will cover all of it, along with Philhealth (the local government’s health program).

The hubby got operated on and went on to get well in just a matter of two days. By day 2, he was given the all clear and was discharged in the hospital. As I step towards the hospital billing and cashier area to settle his bills, I was also praying like mad that may all his bills be covered by the HMO and Philhealth. When the credit and collection cleared the bill, along with the Philhealth contribution to the hospital bills, I felt like a big weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

I was also given the chance to see the hubby’d damaged gallbladder — it was one ugly sight. Like we feared, the gallbladder had a lot of gallstones, the biggest of which is the size of a marble. There were puss and fat residue in the skin, as well as inside. In short, it was pretty effed up by the time he was admitted in the hospital.

We got the sucker out just in time.

The illness made the hubby lose more than 30 pounds during the six month ordeal. I am already jealous that he now has a more defined jawline than I. Seriously, gallstones are traitorous mother effer — you won’t know they’re there, not until you experience pain in your sides and can hardly function. The scary part is when a stone lodges itself on the narrow duct passing going to the liver.

I can’t state how grateful I am to my company for giving us a good coverage in our health cards, especially the fact that the card was accepted in one of the best hospitals in the country. Customer Service is also superb and there was a liaison officer who helped us sort through our bills. The HMO card pretty much saved the hubby from further agony.

With all the noise going on about universal health care in the Philippines, I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a comprehensive and effective health card that will take care of you once you get sick. I haven’t been confined yet, but my card came handy for the times when I got rushed to the OR due to cat bite and a freak accident with the electric fan. As much as possible, I would recommend to friends to get a health card. Sometimes, it can spell the difference between life and death.