Saturday, May 14, 2011

Continuation of the Pinay's Hospital Experience

A very heartbreaking but truly instructive part of my surgery happened during the admission part of it.  As I had said in an earlier post, my husband was outside in the pews of the admission room, while I spoke with the person who manned the admission section. As I said earlier I came fully prepared, I had read my contract front and back, spoke to the customer service before admission and pointed out what I knew I was entitled to under the contract -- which is P160,000 coverage under my health plan.  Any customer service who has the misfortune of talking to me will know, if I ask a question and you give me an answer that I can not find in the contract  my short and simple question is -- have you read the contract?  Because I have!

At any rate, the Admission Section suggested I stay at the Ward because a semi-private room was unavailable.  I pointed out that under the contract I can ask for a room upgrade if a semi-private room was unavailable.  So I got what I knew I was entitled to.

Anyway, while signing the papers essentially stating that I am willing to be moved to a semi-private room when one becomes available, I overheard a conversation that the admission person was having with another woman.  It appears that Mrs. (I forgot the real name, but let's make up a fictional name) Robinson was having her husband moved from a semi-private room to a ward.  Obviously, Robinson is not a Filipino name, unless he (the husband) was born in the Philippines but was left behind by a foreigner.  But at any rate, it appears that Mr. Robinson, the husband, is an American retiree, receiving only his Social Security pension.  The woman in the Admitting Section asked the wife if she was working and if she had Philhealth coverage such that the husband is covered (at least partially).  The answer was a NO.  Not only does she and her husband not have Philhealth coverage  but she also has no work.

Honestly, I felt sorry for the husband more than I did for the wife.  Sorry for him that the meager pension he is living on has to be shared between himself and his wife (who was clearly of working age).  Maybe people will call me "mayabang" for saying this, and maybe I am -- I offer no excuse, I honestly have never been without work (except for the 7 months I spent preparing for the bar).  But I just felt pinays have to be empowered women even when they are married to foreigners and most especially if you are a pinay who is married to a much older foreigner man.  Having a mother myself who is old and has no means to support herself, I can understand that having a much older person to live with carries a huge amount of responsibility.  You have to realize that the money they have is meant to answer for their needs when they get older, they are not meant to sustain a family.

Even assuming that it can pay partially to sustain yourself (as a wife) and him, you have to realize that money will not last forever or overcome inflation unless there is some other source of income, either a business or another source of income (like a wife working).  If you factor in that it has been two years since there has been a cost-of-living adjustment in the Social Security pension and the dollar exchange has not been going up but infact going progressively down, there has to be another source of income apart from social security pension, and the woman has to play an active part in determining where to find that money.

If you think about the fact that under Philippine law, the spouse is duty-bound to provide support for the husband/wife over any family relation (e.g. you can't run to his kids because under Philippine law it is YOUR [wife] responsibility), then maybe you (the filipina wife) can play a more active role in finding ways and means to help your husband live a comfortable life in the Philippines.

(P.S. Sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings by this post, I just felt it needed to be said.)


  1. Hi Claudette: Thank you for posting this article. I plan to retire to the Philippines when my time is up. I am in the U.S. presently and is married to an Anglo-American. I believe that the information here is very important, even for us the would be "Balikbayan" retirees. Because of articles like yours, I am planning to establish a business which can at least qualify my spouse and I for Phil-health. I am aware that an emergency fund of the equivalent of $10,000.00 U.S. would be essential for medical emergencies. (Note: My google account is posting with the heading of Ralph (my husband's account), but this is Roselyn.

  2. Claudette,

    Like your articles so much, very informative and enjoyable to read. I will be retiring to the Philippines in 3 years. I understand if your are married to a filipino you are eligible for PhiliHealth. Is this true? Also i was looking into Blue Cross/Blue Shield Philippines there. Are you familiar with them. Another option for me is the VA. Take care.

  3. Thanks Papa Duck! :) Blue Cross/Blue Shield... I have looked at their quotes and may include it among the possible coverages for the hubby.

    Do you need to be married to a filipino? Not necessarily, I think. Maybe this can help.

  4. Really good idea to establish that emergency fund, Claudette. I also am going to sign up for PhilHealth when my asawa and I get done with my visa business in Manila and return to our home in Guimaras. I will only need an NSO copy of our marriage certificate according to PhilHealth. At an annual cost of P1200 a year per person, though I understand it won't cover that many expenses, it still should prove to be useful.