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Sick OFWs to get financial aid from OWWA

MANILA, Philippines - Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)afflicted with the Zika virus and other diseases are getting financial assistance from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

OWWA Administrator Rebecca Calzado said they are set to implement the Supplemental Medical Assistance Program for OFWs for a maximum of P50,000 financial aid to OWWA members undergoing treatment for dreaded illnesses.

Diseases covered under the SMAP include cancer, kidney ailments, emerging infection like Zika, Ebola and other illness requiring medical procedure and longtime care, she added.

Calzado said the program, implemented in coordination with the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., would benefit 2.4 million OFWs who are active OWWA and PhilHealth members.

The OWWA governing board previously approved a resolution for the allocation of P150 million for the implementation of MEDplus starting August, she added.

Based on the OWWA resolution, the frequency of availment will have no limit as long as it does not exceed the amount of P50,000 and it covers the same medical conditions aligned with the PhilHealth system.

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OFWs hospitalized abroad due to dreaded disease may avail of the financial aid, provided the confinement occurred when they were active OWWA members.

The OWWA medical assistance will be on top of the benefits they would get from PhilHealth.

Yesterday, OWWA and PhilHealth signed the memorandum of agreement for the implementation of the program.

Calzado said the program would be implemented after the completion of the implementing rules and regulations within 60 days.

“We have initiated the MEDplus program because we know OFWs who are suffering from dreaded disease would need additional financial help because in most instances they could no longer work or they would require longtime treatment,” she said. 

PhilHealth president Alex Padilla said they are encouraging all Filipinos working abroad to register with OWWA and PhilHealth so they could avail themselves of the financial assistance from OWWA.

They also expect the new administration of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte to continue and even expand the implementation of the MEDplus program for the benefit of more OFWs, he added.

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