OFWs Filipinos
File photo: Filipino overseas workers at a remittance centre in Satwa district of Dubai. Image Credit: Courtesy: Julian de Jesus


  • Filipino domestic workers must pay $124 per year, or $12 per month, for PhilHealth coverage starting this 2020
  • Oversease Filipinos who earn more than Php60,000 must pay Php21,000 ($434.23) for annual PhilHealth coverage
  • Overseas Filipinos include their dependents living with them overseas
  • Send your questions re: PhilHealth to readers@gulfnews.com

Dubai: Under Philippine law, every Filipino expatriate worker must pay a 3% monthly premium to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) this 2020.

The increase in PhilHealth premiums covers all overseas Filipinos, including their dependents. It was rolled out late last year.

On April 22, the state-owned health insurer published a circular explaining the tiered contributions and collection of payment from overseas Filipino members.

Who is covered by the recent PhilHealth circular?

All overseas Filipinos working or residing overseas, including those who are on holiday or waiting for their overseas work documents, whether they are unregistered or registered with the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP).

Why was the circular issued?

PhilHealth stated that circular clarifies details of the law that provides for the collection of PhilHlealth premiums from Overseas Filipinos.

PhilHealth Circular
First page of the Philhealth circular issued recently Image Credit: PhilHealth

Who are the Overseas Filipinos (OFs)?

By law, it means Overseas Filipinos (OFs) and their dependents:

  • Land-based OFWs
  • Seafarers and other sea-based workers
  • Filipinos with dual citizenship (RA 9225)
  • Filipinos living abroad
  • Overseas Filipinos in distress
  • Other overseas Filipinos not previously classified elsewhere

What is the basis of computation of the 3% PhilHealth premium rate to be paid this year by OFWs?

It's a tiered payment computation, which gradually increases each year from 2019 to 2025 — 2.5% in 2019, 3% in 2020, 3.5% in 20201, 4% in 2022, 4.5% in 2023, 5% in 2024 and 2025.

Universal Health Care (UHC) Law (RA 11223)
On February 20, 2019, the Universal Health Care (UHC) Bill was signed into law (Republic Act No. 11223) by President Rodrigo Duterte. It automatically lists all Filipino citizens in the National Health Insurance Programme (NHIP).

The law provides a minimum (floor) income of Php10,000 and a maximum income of Php60,000 this 2020. If your salary is Php60,000 or above, you are mandated by law to pay Php1,800 ($36) per month or Php21,600 this year ($434.23).


(Php21,600) annual insurance premium to be paid by each overseas Filipino who earns Php60,000 or above this 2020 under Universal Health Care, R.A. 11223

By 2021, the minimum stays the same, but the ceiling increases to Php70,000. It gradually increases by P10,000 each per year till the maximum of Php100,000 is reached by 2024/25.

What does this mean?

This means that if your monthly salary is >Php60,000 (Dh4,430) per month, your monthly premium will be computed only against the Php60,000 ceiling — Php1,800 per month, or Php21,600 per year.

FIRED AFTER BEING DIAGNOSED WITH CERVICAL CANCER: Baby Jane Allas (centre), a 38-year-old mother of five Filipina domestic worker who was sacked after she was diagnosed with cervical cancer leaves with family members and supporters after a hearing at the Labour Tribunal in Hong Kong on April 15, 2019, which ordered her former employer to pay a settlement of 30,000 HKD in damages.

Q: I am a domestic work earning $400. How much is my monthly PhilHealth premium this 2020?

Php600 ($12, or Dh44.30) per month x 12 = Php7,200 ($145/Dh531.65) per year.


monthly PhilHealth premium for domestic workers earning $400 under new Philippine law
PhilHealth premiums
Screenshot of the page of the law signed by President Rodrigo Duterte stating percentage of monthly premiums based on income. Image Credit: Screenshot / Philippine Gazette

Q: What if my monthly income is Php100,000 or above?

By 2021, the maximum amount against which the premium is computed will be Php70,000. Then it goes up Php80,000 in 2022, Php90,000 in 2023 and Ph100,000 in 2024/25.

That means by 2024, an OFW who earns Php100,000 (about $2,000) must pay a monthly PhilHealth premium of Php5,000 ($100) or Php60,000 ($1,200) per year.

Job ads for domestic helpers and caregivers in Saudi Arabia posted outside at a recruitment agency's office in Manila. Image Credit: Agency
2.3 million Overseas Filipino workers
The number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who worked abroad at anytime during the period April to September 2018 was estimated at 2.3 million.

Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs) with existing work contract comprised 96.2 percent of the total OFWs during the period April to September 2018.The rest (3.8%) worked overseas without contract (Table 1).

There were more females than males among the OFWs, with the female OFWs comprising 55.8 percent of the total. Female OFWs were generally younger than male OFWs, with about half (47.5%) of the female OFWs belonging to the age group 25 to 34 years.

In comparison, male OFWs in this age group made up 38.9 percent. Male OFWs aged 45 years and older accounted for 21.2 percent of all male OFWs while their female counterparts in this age group made up 14.5 percent. [Philippine Statistics Authority https://bit.ly/3fhOlsr]

Q: What is a PhilHealth "case rate package" for COVID-19?

It's a rule that sets the maximum amount that the state insurer will pay for the treatment of a patient for a certain ailment.

In case a patient falls ill, hospital charges over and above that amount stipulated in the case rate package must be borned by the patient out of pocket — or through a personal health insurance.

Q: Does PhilHealth pay for treatment of COVID-19 patients?

Yes. PhilHealth currently pays all the hospitalization and treatment costs incurred by patients who contracted SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the acute respiratory disease.

Q: How much is covered for COVID-19 treatment?

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared PhilHealth benefits for COVID-19 cases would cover medical expenses ranging from P8,150 for testing to P786,834 for critical cases of pneumonia.

Duterte also stated that the coverage of the benefit packages both for COVID-19-related pneumonia and community isolation will undergo a 30-day review to adjust the rates.

Q: How much is the cover for different categories under the new package for COVID-19 patients?

PhilHealth coverage for COVID-19 patients is arranged into four categories, depending on the severity of condition.

Coverage will be based on the following:

  • mild pneumonia - P43,997 (Dh3,248)
  • moderate pneumonia - P143,267 (Dh10,578)
  • severe pneumonia - P333,519 (24,626)
  • critical pneumonia - P786,384 (Dh58,066)

PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales explained that the package was so designed since pneumonia was a serious complication brought about by COVID-19.

It was enforced on April 15. It also means that PhilHealth will still cover all costs incurred by patients hospitalised prior to that date.

NAT 200428 13 Filipinos fly1-1588064266837
A total of 494 Filipinos have been repatriated since the start of coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, according to the Philippine missions in the UAE.

Q: How much did PhilHealth allocate for COVID-19 coverage?

In April, PhilHealth has announce a P30 billion allocation for hospital reimbursements covering COVID-19 patients, for which P6 billion had already been disbursed, Morales said.


amount allocated by PhilHealth for COVID-19 related health insurance expenses.

He assured hospitals that PhilHealth was already coordinating with the banks to expedite fund releases. The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office last month stated that it would transfer about P420.6 million to PhilHealth to cover its COVID-19-related packages.


  • Q: Do OFWs have oversight PhilHealth funds to avoid abuses or misappropriation?
  • Q: What about overseas families with children living with them, how much is the coverage for each?
  • Q: Do non-contibutors (indigent members) and paying OFW members enjoy the same coverage?

Send your questions re: PhilHealth to readers@gulfnews.com.