In their bid to ensure that their member OFWs are kept safe and protected, the Overseas Workers Welfare Association (OWWA) launched the Supplemental Medical Assistance for OFWs (MEDplus) Program—a supplemental medical relief program meant to offer a one-time financial assistance to help support the hospitalization of any active OWWA member OFW who may contract a dreaded disease while working abroad.
MEDPlus is a program pioneered by OWWA in partnership with PhilHealth. It was specially designed to offer supplemental medical relief in the form of a one-time cash grant for OWWA member-OFWs who were hospitalized due to a dreaded disease. If you or anyone you know contracts a dreaded disease while working abroad, then let this article fill you in on the coverage, benefits, requirements, and application procedures for the MEDPlus Program.
What is OWWA MEDPlus
The Supplemental Medical Assistance for OFWs also known as the MEDplus Program is a collaborative supplemental medical relief program launched by OWWA and PhilHealth for member OFWs. Launched in 2016, MEDPlus was intended to provide eligible availees with a one-time medical or financial assistance to supplement the PhilHealth benefits in the event of hospitalization due to dreaded diseases either in the Philippines or abroad.
Under the program, active OWWA and PhilHealth member OFWs can receive support similar to that of a health maintenance organization (HMO). The benefit will be equivalent to the PhilHealth case rate benefit system and will apply when they pay for their hospital or medical bills. The only difference is that with MEDPlus, it will be a one-time grant exclusively given to active OWWA members OFW and PhilHealth members and will be carried out and made available to OFWs or their eligible dependents in 18 different provincial offices in the Philippines.
The MEDPlus Program affords active OWWA member OFWs the following benefits:
- One-time financial assistance amounting to a maximum of Php 50,000.00 per member with dreaded disease on top of the PhilHealth benefits
- Medical assistance to cover for medical and surgical procedure
- Coverage for the following dreaded diseases
- Heart Diseases,
- Liver Disease (e.g., Hepatitis),
- Chronic Kidney Disease,
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease,
- All Forms of Cancer
- The Php 50,000.00 can be used for treatment of dreaded diseases multiple times until it runs out.
The following criteria must be met to qualify for and enjoy the benefits of MEDPlus:
- Must be an active OWWA member with active PhilHealth Membership
- Afflicted with or is hospitalized due to a dreaded disease, whether abroad or in the Philippines.
- Must be able to present necessary documents certifying such diagnosis.
If you qualify for the program and you feel that the program will be helpful for your hospitalization, then here are the documents that you will need to prepare before you proceed with the application:
- OFW Membership Record (MR)
- MEDPlus Application Form
- One (1) Passport Size Picture
- Valid Passport
- Government-issued or any valid Identification (ID) Card
- Member Data Record (MDR) from PhilHealth
- PhilHealth Benefit Payment Notice (BPN)
- Medical Certificate issued by attending physician or healthcare professional
- Proof of active OWWA membership
- Membership Record secured from the OWWA RWO
- Official receipt of most recent OWWA membership contribution
- OFW E-Card
- If the family of OFW will claim the assistance because:
- OFW is overseas: Duly-notarized Special Power of Attorney executed by the OFW
- OFW is deceased
- Death certificate of deceased OFW
- PSA-issued birth certificate of NOK-claimant
- Birth certificate of applicant, if the applicant is the child of the OFW
- Marriage certificate of applicant, if the applicant is the spouse of the OFW
- Birth certificate of applicant and Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) of OFW, if the applicant is a parent or sibling of the OFW
MEDPlus Application Procedure
To apply for the benefits of the MEDPlus Program, simply follow these steps:
- Secure an appointment to the OWWA Regional Welfare Office (RWO) for local applications or at the POLO OWWA office in your country of employment, for applicants abroad by:
- Using the appointment scheduler on the OWWA website (appointment.owwa.gov.ph).
- Using the appointment scheduler on the OWWA Mobile App.
- On the day of the preferred date of appointment, go to the selected OWWA RWO that is closest to the OFW-member’s permanent address.
- Secure a queuing number or priority number (ticket), please wait to be accommodated.
- Present I.D. at the Counter of the Social Benefits Unit for verification of Membership Records.
- If the membership and the PhilHealth MDR are valid, then you can acquire a MEDPlus Application Form.
- Submit the accomplished MEDPlus Application form and requirements;
- Present the claim stub and claim the financial assistance through check or cash pay-out.
- After claiming the check, go to the Cashier at the Releasing Window.
- Present any two (2) of the following valid IDs to receive the check or cash assistance.
- Driver’s License
- Senior Citizens
- NBI Clearance (Original / Valid),
- PRC License
For interested MEDPlus applicants or claimants, here are a few other guidelines that you’d want to keep in mind:
- Applications with incomplete requirements won’t be processed by OWWA and PhilHealth, so make sure you have them complete and ready upon submission.
- Processing of MEDPlus applications can take up to three (3) days upon submission of requirements and confirmation of PhilHealth benefit payment.
- Applications for the MEDPlus program must be made while the OFW has active OWWA membership status.
- Applications by or with inactive OWWA OFW membership status will only be accepted within 60 days after membership expires.
OWWA MEDPlus Explainer Video
To learn more about OWWA MEDPlus and its benefits, watch the MEDPlus explainer video below:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some of the most common questions and answers you may have about OWWA MEDPlus:
1. Who is qualified to apply for the MEDPlus program?
The MEDPlus program by OWWA and PhilHealth caters to OFWs and their qualified dependents who are active members of OWWA and PhilHealth, and have been diagnosed with a severe or chronic illness classified as “dreaded” by PhilHealth.
2. Is the OWWA MEDPlus an HMO?
No. MEDPlus Program is not an HMO and it’s not a replacement for one even though it seems a lot like one. Plus, unlike HMOs, MEDPlus is not commercially available, but is exclusive to active OWWA OFW members and their qualified dependents.
3. If I already have PhilHealth and an HMO insurance, can I still apply for this program?
Yes. You may maximize the opportunities offered by PhilHealth and all your other healthcare insurance forms by combining it with the MEDPlus program. It will help cover for your medical and hospitalization costs for you or your beneficiary’s dreaded illness.
4. Can I use MEDPlus multiple times or for different dreaded diseases?
Due to the program’s limitations and the numerous applications being reviewed and approved by OWWA and PhilHealth, applicants can only get the grant for one dreaded disease per member. If the member has more than one dreaded disease, he or she can be redirected to other healthcare insurance policies and initiatives.
5. How long does it take for my application to get processed?
Applications for the program take up to three (3) business days upon submission of requirements and confirmation of PhilHealth benefit payment before it gets processed. Having said that, make sure to submit your application with complete requirements and be ready to present your PhilHealth Benefit Payment Notice (BPN) once you’ve been notified of your application’s approval.
Most of us have the urge to immediately turn down offers to avail of insurance programs. It’s not the arrogance that we’ll never need it. It’s just that health has never been a priority in most Filipino households. Luckily, the government gives enough importance to health, offering PhilHealth as a way to support the need for equal access to healthcare programs.
On the other hand, OFWs are special cases. On top of the benefits of PhilHealth, OWWA offers the Supplemental Medical Assistance for OFWs (MEDPlus) Program, a program meant to provide financial assistance to OFWs and their dependents.
The MEDplus Program might not be enough of a safety net in the event of an emergency, so it’s best to always have a back up.
For more information on the MEDPlus program, you may visit their website at www.owwa.gov.ph or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OWWAofficial. You may also download the OWWA Mobile App on Google Play or App Store to stay updated. You may also reach out to OWWA directly.
Overseas Workers Welfare Association (OWWA)
Office Address: F.B. Harrison St, Pasay, Metro Manila
Tel. No.: 8891-7601 to 24
OWWA hotline number: 1348, (02) 1348 (Regional), (+632) 1348 (International)
OWWA Email Address: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
OWWA Facebook page: https://web.facebook.com/OWWAofficial
OWWA website: https://owwa.gov.ph/
In case you still have other questions or concerns, you also have the option to reach out to OWWA 24/7 Operations Center is located at: OWWA Building, 7th corner F.B. Harrison Sts., Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines and can be contacted through the following contact information:
Landline: (+632)833-OWWA or (+632)833-6992
Globe Hotline: 2917 (Press “3” for OWWA)
Mobile/SMS text messaging: (0917)TXT-OWWA or (0917)898-6992
Email address: email@example.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org