Prepaid Health Cards

Prepaid Health Card

Have you heard of prepaid health cards before? If your employee benefits include health services through a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), they’re the same. You get the same limited health services according to the plan that you availed. The only difference is a prepaid health card, well, you prepay it while you (or your employer) renew your HMO membership annually.

While everyone in the freelancing community enjoys the perks of being able to work from home, on their convenience, or wherever they may be, I am confident that everyone would agree with me that we dread getting sick (or even a member of the family). One of the downsides of freelancing is the absence of law-mandated benefits that a regular employee gets and other company “bonuses,” one of which is free health care.

Really, what are prepaid health cards?

A couple of years back, we had to rush my mother to the ER. She complained of dizziness and feeling numb. Since she doesn’t have a health card, we spent a whopping Php 16,000 for our quick visit to the ER. Her lab and test results ruled that it was a potassium deficiency. That was when I decided to look for a means to save money for medical-related emergencies and learned of prepaid health cards.

You would ask: why didn’t I just get a regular HMO for mother earth? The simple answer is, most HMO affiliates require enrollees who are older than 49 years old (my mother’s 50+) to undergo a series of medical exams, which my mother would always fail because she has hypertension. They’re just wise lang naman, and I fully understand that. If I were a medical insurance company, why would I want to pay for this person’s medical expenses knowing that she’s born with this condition or illness?

So long story short, prepaid health cards are similar to your Globe or Smart prepaid cards: you pay for it now and use it later. They do not require any medical tests for someone to become eligible to use it, are often cheap, and valid for one year upon successful activation of the card.

Are they legit?

The other day, my brother, who’s staying at my mother’s house at the moment, sent me a message asking me if I’m already awake. My mother is experiencing tingles, numbness, and chest pain again and asking him to bring her to the hospital. Thankfully, she was diagnosed with nothing severe and was allowed to go home the same day.

Aside from worrying about my mother’s condition, I also thought if the hospital will honor the prepaid emergency health card we purchased for her. Serving its purpose, they went home without paying for anything. That said, I can vouch for Maxicare’s EReady prepaid emergency health card for now since this is just the first prepaid card we’ve tried. I want to try another plan or provider now that we’ve used her prepaid card, which only costs Php 699.

Where can I buy prepaid health cards?

Most HMO affiliates that offer prepaid cards sell their products on their website. There are, surprisingly, tons of them if you still haven’t started your research, and you may be overwhelmed.

I found this health tech site called Maria Health, an online sales platform that offers medical products/services, has a great list of prepaid health cards from different HMO affiliates. I suggest checking them out because I find the website useful. They even have a free comparison guide though you’d have to give away your contact info in exchange for it.

Is it worth it?

Totally! Not just freelancers or virtual assistants like me will appreciate that these prepaid health cards are now available and easily accessible in times of health emergencies, which, we can all agree, is not cheap.

Please religiously read the plan’s terms, limitations, conditions, etc. before buying one for yourself or your family. Ask yourself: is it for hospitalization? Emergency? Consultation? Also, consider the coverage, validity, access to medical facilities. You wouldn’t want to invest in something you won’t be able to use, right? 😉

That’s it, pancit!

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