Health Care in the Philippines

by Jose Marc Castro on August 8, 2009

healthcareAUSTRALIAThinking about living permanently in the Philippines? Before you finally make a final decision as to living in the Philippines is right for you, there are a lot of factors that you need to be knowledgeable about, and out of them is the health care in the Philippines.

Officially called as the Republic of the Philippines, this island nation is situated in Southeast Asian regions. Its capital is Manila, and it has more than seven thousand islands, making the nation as the world’s twelfth most populous countries. Most Filipinos are of Austronesian descent, although there are also some significant minorities of Arab, Spanish, Americans and Chinese. The Philippines is home to the most hospitable people on earth, having been very popular because of its hospitality to local and foreign tourist. This attitude is one of the many reasons why a lot of people are thinking about relocating into this Southeast Asian country.

The Philippines has about 95,000 or about 1 per 800 people with about 1,700 hospitals where 60% are private totaling 85,000 beds. An expat in the Philippines shared how cheap it is in the Philippines in the Rest of the World Expat Forum last August 7, 2009:

Health insurance , well, I have never had it since leaving my parent’s home at 18 and raised our daughter without a family doctor. Hospital care is cheap here so we chose to keep U$10,000 ready for any type of medical emergency rather than feed the insurance company money every year. You and many others may feel differently than us about that issue. I’m about ready to get my first “executive check-up” at 55 years old for 3 days on an out-patient basis for only P19000 ( 300 quid ). So really can’t advise oyou on that other than I just created a new Philippine Healthcare webpage where I have included many choices with links for you to investigate on my website at: Health Care Philippines.

Health Issues in the Philippines

Like any other third-world country, the Philippines have been struggling in some health issues and one of it is illegal drug use. A lot of Filipinos are addicted to prohibited drugs. However, the Philippine government has dealt with this issue and although there are still some recorded incidents of drug abuse, the number of drug dependents in the Philippines has gradually decreased.

One major health issue in the Philippines, is malnutrition. There have been studies conducted and accordingly, most of the Filipinos that suffer from malnutrition are the poor ones. The Philippine government, thru the Department of Social Welfare and Developments along with the Department of Health has provided projects to help poor Filipinos from starvation.  Other health issues in the Philippines are dengue cases, but then, these health concerns are only happening in the rural area of the country. Most of these cases are properly attended to by the Philippine government.

Health Care in the Philippines

Although there have been recorded cases of drug dependency and malnutrition in the Philippines, you can still consider the health care of this nation is of good quality, despite the fact that the facilities may not be as impressive as those found in high-end US hospitals. Top Philippine hospitals include the Medical Center in Alabang, the Asian Hospital, the Makati Medical Center, the Medical City in Ortigas, and St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City.

Medical practitioners in the Philippines are graduates from top universities in the country, and most of them have in United States medical schools. Additionally, there are also doctors that have practiced medicine in the US before sharing their expertise in the Philippines. Filipino nurses are also trained by nursing schools with the best standards. In fact, most of the nurses working in the US are Filipinos.

If you are looking for a dentist or a doctor, it is better that you seek for the suggestions of expatriates that have been in the Philippines for quite a number of years already. All in all, Medical care in the Philippines has improved and services expanded, there are still issues to access and poverty that hamper the development of the system.

Hospitals in the Philippines

Finding the right hospital in the Philippines is not that difficult because there are a number of options to choose from. The Philippines has both private and public health care institutions. Most of the government hospitals provide quality healthcare the same way private hospitals do.

Some people have these wrong misconceptions though than when you are seeking for medical advice from doctors in public hospitals, these are not reliable. However, you should be aware that most of the well-trained doctors in the Philippines are serving government hospitals. What differs the Philippine government hospitals from the Philippine private hospitals is simply the facilities. Most of the public hospitals in the Philippines are not equipped with the latest technologies in medicine. But then, most Filipinos seek for advice from these government hospitals because charges are not implemented.

As for the private hospitals, there are also a hundred ones located in key cities of the nation. There are also tertiary hospitals that have the latest in medical technologies. However, because they are private hospitals, they are a bit expensive than the government hospitals.

Emergency in the Philippines

The Philippines have stand by ambulances for any emergency situation. They also have a hotline number where on can call in times of emergencies. Hospitals are also equipped with the latest in first aid treatments.


There are also a thousand of pharmacies in the Philippines that provide Bureau of Food and Drug approved medicines. Most of the standard pharmacies are manned with professionals that have studied and trained in top medical schools in the country. Also, the Philippines is not that very lenient when it comes to prescription drugs. While there are some countries that allow their patients to obtain drugs without being prescribed by their respective doctors, the Filipino pharmacists are very strict in dealing with such situations.

Cost of Medicines and Hospitalizations

Generally, hospitals are not that expensive in the Philippines. Medicines as well are very affordable. Both locals and foreigners can attest to the fact that medicines sold in the Philippines are very much affordable.

If you are thinking about relocating in the Philippines, one of your least worries should be health care. Since the health care system in the Philippines is affordable, and the doctors are well trained, plus nurses can properly aid you, you really never have to worry that much.

Additionally, unlike in some countries where most of the population does not speak English, in the Philippines, almost ninety percent of their population can understand and speak English well. Communication is never a problem when you are in the Philippines.

With the low cost of medicine and health care, living in the Philippines is really not a thing to worry. The people are very hospitable and accommodating, the doctors and medical practitioners are friendly, and the place is really very inviting. If you wish to settle down and relocate in the Philippines, have no doubt about it. In fact, a lot of people have already relocated in the Philippines and so far, there have been no recorded negative incidents, as far as their health is concerned.

{ 175 comments… read them below or add one }

tagum real estate March 8, 2011 at 2:08 am

great post jose – very thorough explanation

I think overall, expats won't have problems when it comes to health care in ph as long as they live in urban areas.. just my 2 cents :-)


racel March 12, 2011 at 2:00 pm

its true..


Dennis March 25, 2011 at 3:56 pm

My wife told me that in the Philippines you have to pay your hospital bill before they will release you. If you can not pay it in full right then they will hold you there against your will (kidnapping you) until the bill is paid, all the while adding to the bill each day they keep you. Even if they hold you until your dead they make the family members pay the bill. This all sounds like criminal injustice to me. Is this all nonsense ? or is this true ?


wife of a patient June 6, 2011 at 1:14 am

true. we experienced it firsthand.


Dorin June 26, 2011 at 6:48 am

I agree there are some of them…


guest June 26, 2011 at 4:24 pm



ana September 27, 2011 at 1:06 am

there is an existing law in the Philippines against holding patients against their will. your wife I guess doesn't know this. try doing some research first before believing in what others say.


yami November 8, 2011 at 8:43 am

yeah, well there IS a law for holding patients against their will, sorry to burst your bubble ana, but in reality, it is not being implemented.


coipal June 2, 2014 at 12:21 pm

yes, there’s a law, but not implemented…sad!

daisy July 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm

partly true….but other hospitals may make u sign a waiver for release…. you have to pay for it later…..others they really detained the patient.


Jim March 29, 2012 at 12:22 am

happened to my wife in Camiguin Province. She could not leave until her niece retrieved money from local western union. I was in the USA at the time. However, they performed emergency surgery on her and saved her life despite not knowing if she would pay or not. The surgery was to remove a tumor (non-cancerous) from her filopian tubes. She was in the hospital for three days and the bill was only $800. I love the people of the philippines and can't wait until I am able to retire and live there.


esabela June 16, 2012 at 7:02 am is absolutely true….it happened to my family……..I find it so very appauling/ was so digusted of the attitude of the doctors there too.


jimmie feager May 1, 2013 at 4:47 pm

its true,your not able to leave untill your bill is paied in full,i was in there for 9 days 2 mo. ago,in lucena philippines,but they took real good care of me


Anne June 23, 2014 at 4:14 am

it’s true because the patients always scape when the nurses are not looking they change clothes and run away from their bill. poor people will not pay so they need to make sure they get a hold of them if it’s private they should pay. My sister is a doctor and the hospital is always doing meetings about this incidents that patients always scapes from the hospital bills. If they keep ding this, hospiatals will go bancraft.


sheama March 18, 2015 at 6:38 am

Yes it true


... March 31, 2011 at 12:10 pm

this makes me sick,. T_T,. cheap medicines,. cheap hospitalizations..??? I've been working in a govt hospital, and what do I see plenty in these charts??? "HAMA" if you know what that means, then its safe to presume that your not going to like it… Main reason: they do not have enough money to buy your so called affordable medicines..


Fajardo April 10, 2011 at 5:49 pm

My husband is filipino and a physician. While we have chosen to stay in the USA I won't comment on Philippine healthcare.

I WILL call this false statement out though: "In fact, most of the nurses working in the US are Filipinos."

There are many flipinos working as nurses in the US… but they in NO WAY constitute a majority. Most of them in our area are ADN's (associate 2 year degree nurses) although there are a few BSN's as well.


Anne June 23, 2014 at 4:16 am

Even if they have BSN or they are RN, if they cannot pass the exam and trainings they will end up as nursing aides. Licence is not enough they will still be challenge and trained and given exams to be in a good position.


tim April 30, 2011 at 11:58 pm

were planning to move back in the philippines but im worried about my health insurance..we plan to live in cebu my blue cross and blue shield insurance in the usa covered there in cebu?


Guest May 2, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Tim, your best bet would be to contact a/your (blue cross and blue shield insurance in the usa) agent.


Guest June 17, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Hi Tim.
My parents have retired in the Philippines and have the Federal Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance. This insurance is only recognized in some hospitals in the Philippines. Checkout the Blue Cross and Blue Shield website and search for the overseas benefits. From the last time we looked in the website, the hospitals that recognized BCBS are : Subic Bay Medical Center (Olangapo City), The Medical City General Hospital (Pasig City) and Asian Hospital and Medical Center (Alabang, Muntinlupa City). My parents have only used Asian Hospital.

The usage of the BCBS health insurance for overseas is usually for emergency situations. Not really for regular checkups like you would use in the US. But you will need to check with the hospital if you can make arrangements to see a doctor for say a yearly physical exam. That hospital will need to contact BCBS if what you are requesting would be approved. Mostly physicals or doctor checkups, my father just pays in cash. I believe you can try get reimbursement for any medical treatments you have received from any hospital if you have the documentation required. From the last check on the website, you can try to get reimbursement for prescription medications that you will be purchasing in the Philippines. That medication will need to have an equivalent US for them to be able to evaluate. According to the form, BCBS does not have a direct deposit set up for overseas prescription reimbursement. That means they will need to send you a check. However, I caution that you request to have the check sent to the Philippines. It will likely get stolen if it's not courier delivered,etc. Best scenario is if the check can be sent to a US address. If you or your wife has a relative here in the US that can deposit in your US checking account.


Philip March 13, 2015 at 11:19 pm

I believe Cebu has now a JCI certified Hospital where they accommodate same insurance system in here.
I can always check it for you or you can check their website. This is the same Hospital accreditation such as in the Singapore, US or other countries. Where they have a very strict standards in Hospital Management. Also before I forgot another Hospital was accredited with Trent, European Hospital Certifying Body.

Both were the First in the Visayas and Mindanao. Only Cebu have passed so far of this kind of facilities and services with this Prestigious Certifying Body. With this recent development, Expats especially the elderly have chosen Cebu as their choice not only of the Healthcare but also the world class beaches and hotels. To mention again about the Fluent English speaking Cebuanos and the Very Friendly Business environment.


Guest June 21, 2011 at 2:20 am

I think the article written about Health Care in the Philippines is coming from a local citizen who may not have experience using health care outside of the country to make a reasonable comparison. He would not be able to compare the differences in cost of medications and hospital charges.

The way it is written is somewhat misleading especially this statement :

If you are thinking about relocating in the Philippines, one of your least worries should be health care. Since the health care system in the Philippines is affordable, and the doctors are well trained, plus nurses can properly aid you, you really never have to worry that much.

For anyone planning to retire in the Philippines, health care is probably the most important thing that you need to worry about especially if you are coming from the US and have had the benefit of health insurance to take care of your medical needs.

I know this from my family’s experience since my parents have retired in the Philippines. We know the health care issue very well from personal experience as well as experiences of our relatives. My parents are lucky enough that they have Blue Cross Blue Shield from the USA. This is not recognized in every hospital but about three in the whole country. If you are admitted into a hospital that does not recognize your health care insurance from the US, be prepared to pay a deposit before being admitted. In addition, when it’s time for you to be discharged, you will not be able to leave until full payment is made and everyday that passes, new charges are added. There are different stories shown in the local news about people not being admitted for emergency situations because they have no money. Unfortunately, this is true in some cases depending on the hospital.

Majority of the locals do not have health care insurance. The reason being that majority of their salaries do not pay enough to even support themselves or their families. Why get insurance when you need to eat or put your kids to school? I know that the mentality in the US to get insurance for health, car, house, etc. is to prevent having to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to pay for hospital bills, car accident, etc. Even professionals such as doctors, lawyers, engineers,etc. do not make a lot of money in the Philippines. That is why many Filipinos have migrated or are working in other countries to have a better life. No one can fully understand this until you have to live in that life. Easy to judge people from afar.

This leads me to the point of health care in the Philippines. If you are coming from the US to retire in the Philippines, be prepared to not have the same hospital standards in the Philippines as you experienced from the US. The reason being the US is a lot richer country in comparison. The US has put aside money to their citizens for various health care such as medicare/medicaid. Although we often hear that sometimes they don’t cover a lot here in the US. However, I don’t believe the Philippines has anything like that in comparison due to having government assistance to pay for medical expenses. If there was, then the others would not have posted their friends or relative’s experiences at the hospitals especially the elderly on this forum.


Guest June 21, 2011 at 2:21 am

Continuation from last post…..

Some have posted that the doctors or hospitals don’t care. In majority of situations in the US, doctors and nurses act quickly in trying to assist patients, etc. But to someone from the US seeing the actions of doctors and nurses in the Philippines, it seems like they act slower or might not be educated. It is mostly a result of the culture and their medical training. The reason why the US may seem to act faster in hospitals is due to potential lawsuits. Doctors and nurses are trained to act quickly since time is very important due to potential risks that can occur. I believe if it was very common for Filipinos to sue doctors or hospitals due to malpractice or negligence, the quality of care that we are used to seeing in the US, would be implemented. This is merely an observation and I’m sure the Filipinos that have money to sue a doctor/hospital will do so. But the majority of Filipinos do not because their main concern is to be able to pay for the hospital bill.

For people that plan to retire in the Philippines, think carefully what you plan to do if you happen to need medical care. This is mostly if you have a heart attack, stroke, etc. which usually requires hospital stay or potential surgery. In addition, prescription drugs that you may need. Medications in the Philippines are not cheaper. The reason being you will pay full price compared to co-pay when you had medical insurance in the US. Example of a price.. Lipitor could be $200 for a one month’s supply compared to 90 days supply for $50-$70 depending on your health care insurance copay in the US. If you have Blue Cross Blue Shield, you can file a claim to try to get reimbursement for medications you purchase in the Philippines if there is an equivalent version in the US. Then they will send you a check for the reimbursement. But not safe for anyone to send you a check through regular mail to the Philippines.

Example of medical procedure costs. This past year, my father had surgery to get a pacemaker at one of the hospitals that accepted his Blue Cross Blue Shield. The total medical bill was around $35,000 (US). Then last year, my mother had to get a hip surgery due an accident falling. That was around $8,000-$10,000 (US). Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance had to first pre-approve the surgical procedures. My parents were lucky that their insurance company covered for everything except for a minor charge for using the tv/phone. However, without this insurance, my parents would not have that money in cash to pay for this.

It suggested that if you already have a medical condition when you retire in the Philippines, to try to live closer to the hospital. Highly recommended that you live in the main cities where a majority of the better well-known hospitals are located. The provincial hospitals normally don’t have all the potential medications a patient may need in addition to the latest medical equipment. My father knows this for a fact as he was misdiagnosed on a number of occasions. There are ambulances available. However, due to bad traffic and no laws enforced, most cars will not pull aside to let the ambulance through. Different culture compared to what we do here in the US about pulling over to the side letting the ambulance through.

Only referenced Blue Cross Blue Shield since that is what my parents had experienced using. However, consult your health care insurance provider for what benefits you have for overseas medical services.


Anne June 23, 2014 at 4:29 am

Yep, we let the patient die if they don’t have money. The hospital needs to earn, they are struggling to buy equipment and possility renovation is expensive. So poor patients are just trash that we cannot attend to. It’s normal everyday situation to just trash them at the morgue. Even the middle class cannot afford medical and they will just not return when they see all the lab request they can’t afford it even when the doctor’s are sending them to cheap labs outside hospitals. I am a nurse and I can’t afford my own medical problems. And hospitals in Philippines, the cheap ones will not be pay insurance and benefits and fair salary. SO even doctor’s and nurses have their own problems with their health. USA has a better situation because people pay taxes, here in Philippines only a few pay taxes, and it’s not even the right amount they declare. So obviously there is no money for this problems and it’s over populated too with poor people that are just not a contributor to anything but just problem.


Guest June 21, 2011 at 2:22 am

Continuation from 2nd post……

A list of health care insurance that are accepted at some Philippines Hospitals in Luzon. Contact hospital directly for more information.
LIST A.International Health Insurances Honored in Selected Luzon-Based Philippine Hospitals as of March 2010
(Allianz) Worldwide Care – Asian Hospital

AETNA – Asian Hospital

AETNA Global Benefit – Makati Medical Center

Alliance – Asian Hospital

Blue Cross International – Asian Hospital

Blue Shield – Asian Hospital

Calvo’s – St. Luke’s Hospital

CIGNA – Asian Hospital

GMC Services – Makati Medical Center

HTH World Wide – Makati Medical Center

IMA – Makati Medical Center

IMG – Asian Hospital

International Health Insurance of Denmark – Makati Medical Center

International SOS – Makati Medical Center

Net Care – Asian Hospital, Makati Medical Center

Pacific International – Asian Hospital

Prestige International – Makati Medical Center

StayWell – St. Luke’s Hospital

TakeCare – Asian Hospital

TieCare – Asian Hospital, Makati Medical Center

Vanbreda International – Asian Hospital, Makati Medical Center

William Russel – Asian Hospital
Availment of insurance benefits varies by health maintenance organization (HMO), insurance plan and servicing hospital. The insured must inquire about their Medicare Advantage benefits by HMO or plan name. Specific concerns may be sent to the respective customer care and credit/billing departments of the hospital.
LIST B. Contact Information of Selected Philippine-Based Hospitals that Honor International Health Insurances with Possible Medicare Advantage Tie-Ups
Asian Hospital and Medical Center: * +63 (2) 771-9000/ +63 (2) 876-5838

Makati Medical Center: * +63 (2) 870-3000/ +63 (2) 870-3008

St. Luke’s Hospital: * +63 (2) 723-0101/ +63 (2) 723-0301


@1isztomania July 5, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Okay, philippine health care is very different from US/Canada or other western countries where health care is public and governed by policy. There are hospitals in the philippines that are public and there is private health care. A good portion of health care in the philippines is commercially driven, this is why we see drastic differences in hospitals all over the Philippines. It's market driven and therefore the quality will depend on the immediate market they are serving. Hospitals in the provinces are really different from hospitals in Manila. Even if owners invest in a nice hospital in the province, people will not be able to afford it. However, if you go to more urban places like Makati, The Fort, Alabang, Ortigas, you will find world-class hospitals with really nice facilities like Makati Medical Center, St. Lukes, and Asian Medical because their immediate clients or city people can afford it. This is just how it is in the Philippines. It's money-driven. The quality of service that you will get often depends on the price that you pay for it.
Vis-a-vis western health care, I can say though that Philippine hospitals, well the nice ones at least, are better. Yes we pay for everything but health care is affordable, of good quality and administered quickly. The quality of doctors are the same, it's TIMELY (no long wait for surgeries, testing etc, if you have the money to pay for it then you will receive FAST health care), labs are in the same facilities, its affordable (vs. western prices which are ridiculous) and so is medicine.

Again it depends where you are staying. Urban places = good health care.


Indian-Filipino July 8, 2011 at 7:16 pm

The problem is the cost of "generic drugs", countries like India and other Asian nations have broken the patent to generate drugs that are far more cheaper to buy and good quality than the ones in the Philippines. In fact the drugs in the Philippines are far more expensive to the local Citizen than it is in India or other places. Philippines is too tied up with American multinationals and American economic model, it need to break free and move towards a more self-reliant economic model, similar to what India or china have followed.


Just Me July 10, 2014 at 11:32 pm

I agree 100%. As an american living in asia I can attest fully my medical care in Taipei, Bangkok and Singapore is not even compareable to USA in that in asia I have incredible doctors, hospitals and sameday or next day access to any specialist with the cost being equal and often LESS than an insurance co-pay in usa without insurance in asia! Doctors trained generally much higher level of clinical and specialty than usa doctors. Equipment is always state of the art. Wait times non existent. An ER trip in Tapei on a very busy day saw me with two doctor reviews, labs, xrays, medication for $80 usd no insurance AND I was in and out in less than four hours. It was like clockwork. 4 of the 5 doctors on call were american trained with the 5th UK trained. My doctor was a northwestern MD. Compare that to a recent usa er visit, a clown from university of Oregon, a 4 hour wait in waiting room, 2+ hours waiting in er room for an arrogant careless minded dr…all said about 16 hours in er for a few tests and WITH insurance cost over $500. Only a fool would think USA has good medical care. I will put Bumrungrad International against Mayo Clinic any day for any cause…better doctors who care, better facilities, no wait time and 5%-10% the cost!


D. Stephan July 30, 2011 at 1:11 am

My question pertains to my Mother-in-law who is an elderly woman in her 80s. She is a natural born Filipina who has lived in Mindanao all her life. If she purchases Philhealth Insurance would that help pay any of her perscription cost or diabetic medications?


ana September 27, 2011 at 1:12 am

She can apply for a senior citizen's ID and she will be able to avail of discounts on her medications. Philhealth Insurance will also cover a percentage of her hospitalisation.


winston October 12, 2011 at 9:53 pm

philhealth does not cover prescription medication


presto August 5, 2011 at 10:34 pm

I’m Spanish but have got Philippine relatives and I’ve traveled there 5 times, the last was exactly a year ago.
I disagree with most of the article. For a westerner is cheap but for Filipinos it’s a big cost. But take in factor their low salaries and the cost of hospitals. My relatives will pass going to the doctor because of the cost, it’s about $30-50 per visit.

This can even prove a problem for a relative overseas. Every Filipino abroad has a problem when there’s a relative in the hospital.

My grandpa had a bad tooth and it was a drama to get it removed. No one wanted to because he was a senior citizen and the docs were scared that he would die! Really, we even had to give an extra to a doctor and the guarantee that my mom would take the responsability.

My grandma had two episodes of long term hospitalization and operations before dying. I don’t really know the cost, but it was a considerable sum even for us (western salaries). It was the best hospital (chong hua) in the city, though.

Aside of these, cheaper hospitals are even a risk. My aunt was brought to Cebu City hospital (bad reputation) and the doctor gave her the wrong medicine. There are a lot of “horror stories” but many of them are true. An example are these histories of people not getting out till it’s paid. The most gross I’ve heard was about a neighbor who was disconnected of the machines (vital) because he couldn’t pay.

My only experience (thankfully) with Philippine health was 5 years ago, when I cut getting out of a jeepney, and the surface was rusted. Went to the local hospital to get cured. No problem at all for me, good service, but it was something minimal. I remember how they made a bill for every medicine and article used.


Frank Glover August 18, 2011 at 7:27 pm


My filipian girl friend has contacted me asking for help with the medical bills for her brother in law who apparently was in a car crash and suffered a serious broken arm requiring an operation. She says that they need to pay P80,000 before they will this a typical charge for what would seem to be a relatively common operation – and he has to pay for each day he waits in hospital. This charge is comletely out the range of an ordinary filipino worker. Is this a typical charge for medical treatment?


Kaye September 16, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Our relative who is a cancer patient has previously experienced the inefficiency of the service of public hospitals in the Philippines like Rizal Medical Center and East Avenue Medical Center. I have written a blog post concerning her experience in When Faith Keeps You Standing: I hope the government could do something with such inefficiency. The proposed budget of PNoy further slashed the health budget… :(


Dave November 1, 2011 at 1:27 am

Sounds like a hit or miss as far as medical care in the PI goes. I'm planning on retiring there in 4-5 months. Filipinos have told me about PhilAm Health Insurance and it is inexpensive. Guess I'll find out first hand, because I've had enough of the USA and it's lunatic president.


Ted B. November 19, 2011 at 7:38 pm

I’ve been all over the world, I was born in P.I, grew up in the states, served in the U.S military, and my conclusion is..evey place has a ghetto, good and bad, coruption,and at the same time ..lets not forget that most Filipinos are religious,genuine, hard working people. To the foreigners that came and learned to love the P.I…kuddos to you for taking the time to understand th plight of each individual filipino, for not everyone is the same just like anywhere else in the world. And like everywhere else..if you keep your mojo right, good things happen! For those who have negative opinions…if its sooo bad in the Philippines for you go somewhere else then…Its funny how a health care question turns into something political and personal for some folks…sack up, adapt and grow up or go somewhere else!


jwing July 10, 2015 at 7:20 am

easy to say grew up in America…move back to the PL


Jason November 26, 2011 at 3:50 am

This post is biased, unfair, uninformed and totally rubbish in terms of accuracy and usefulness. My advice, if you don't like it here, and everything back home is better, don't let the screen door hit you on the way out


yadnio November 30, 2011 at 12:53 am

I am Philippine born and now live in the US and work in the healthcare industry managing a network of physicians and allied health professionals. I still have tons of relatives living in the Philippines. Some are fortunate to have good paying jobs in the government and private sectors which enabled them to keep health insurance benefits. Others are less fortunate who are barely surviving day to day. My sister-in-law died just yesterday of colon cancer. She was only 44 years old. She became a single mom to three girls after my brother died of an accident at the farm several years ago. My sister-in-law's priority was to provide food for her girls and to make sure they can attend school. She didn't get to see a doctor or went to a hospital until it was too late. Healthcare in the Philippines is great when you have the financial resources to see a doctor and stay in a private room with an ocean view. My sister-in-law was one of the multitude of Filipinos who could only wish that they can be admitted in the hospital without being asked to put a "deposit" before they can receive treatment. There are three orphan girls crying right next to their Mom's coffin as I write this comment.


bill fowle June 25, 2014 at 7:51 am

I realise it is late,but my heartfelt sympathy and love go out to the three orphan girls GOD BLESS THEM ALL


Darrell Renfroe December 28, 2014 at 5:59 am

Can you go to jail in dasmarinas cavite for not paying hospital bills there
Or is that no true


Realtime January 29, 2012 at 3:40 am

Sorry in Manila This is True at least at all the Major Hospitals > The Law LOL come on now since when did anyone care about the Law ?
You want a Cop in the Philippines to help you then you start by buying their lunch
Hospitals in the Philippines will often not Evan begin to know how to treat you properly > You must be dreaming >
For Example if you have a " penicillin allergy " be prepared to die unless you have someone write that on your forehead in LARGE LETTERS
Want to leave the Hospital's then be prepared to sneak out somehow unless you have a money belt full of money standing by with a friend .
Have a Yellow Card ? That's a card that provides for Health care if you live in Makati City Be prepared for a home visit before your treated to make sure you really live their . Jan / 2012


liteman February 1, 2012 at 10:31 am

hello i have a girlfriend in the philippines that was taken to the hospital. she was told she had and infection. she was in the hospital for little over a week and it cost about 1200 us dollars? she was told to take medication of 8 months. the cost for that was 240 dollars per month for pills?
the seems very expensive.
can i buy the medications online and sent to her? i think it would be much cheaper?
has any one done this before?
thank you for your time


executive gifts March 7, 2012 at 3:23 am

I just got curious about my hospital bills because the two previous times I got hospitalized, we went to a public hospital and did not spend more than PhP 5,000 for a combined total of 9 days (7 days the first time and 2 days the second time). The nurse on duty obtained the partial bill and I almost lost consciousness when I saw the total. I asked the nurse if they had operated on me or if I had a caesarean section delivery, which would have logically explained why I incurred that amount in 24 hours. The nurse was laughing because it was not the first time she saw that kind of reaction. I told her “I’m going home” right there and then even if they were hesitant to release me. For what? So I will be charged PhP 11,000 more for another day of staying in a room ventilated only by a rusty ceiling fan? WTF! I went home with the last IV still injected in me and Jen removed it (this time it’s free) when it was emptied after 4 hours.


May March 13, 2012 at 2:27 am

I have hired a Phillipino help for my elderly mother.
Recently, our phillipino help asked for money to send to her mother who is struggling with cancer, I am having a hard time believing that the Phillipino hospital " would not allow her mother to leave the hospital in the phillipines until her family pays the full amount of the hospital bill and she is dying, and they will not give her medicine." I would like to believe this story and help her but am having my doubt whether this is a true story or not and hand her the money.


Vicky April 2, 2013 at 11:00 pm

I can only say that I too am faced with the same situation. My Filipino help tells me the same story about her daughter-in-law in the Philippines who needs surgery. The hospital will not release her until she pays up! It's pay or stay! I find this soo hard to believe because our medical system is so different but now that I hear this same scenario from you and many others I feel better about helping her financially. I hope you will find it easier to believe her story. Even though the story seems so unbelievable to us, when seen in context of the Filipino medical system, it is most likely true.
Vicky W


chopz March 13, 2012 at 9:28 am

I wouldn't recommend to any foreigner move to philippines on a permanent basis if they have health issues or elderly, as the health care system is shambolic at best. The standard is acceptable if you live in a wealthy suburb in Manila, Angeles, Cebu or possibly Subic but in the rest of country you are on the wheel of fortune with the health systems. The issue is economical and trickles down from the top as hospitals are poorly resourced as funding is stolen before it gets to where its required. If you have a white face you will stitched up no matter what hospital you are in . Upon seeing your white face all costs will double immediately and unless you pay in advance you will bleed to death in the waiting room while nurses eat milk bangus beside you. Health Insurance may get you treatment but it wont stop them from you billing you in cash and pocketing the charges. Its unfortunate and frustrating to me as I spend 4 months a year there and I love it. I have my Aussie health cover and always make sure I carry travel health Insurance that gets me on a careflight home if required.


max1976 April 8, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Its simple-no money-no care. you can apply in PGH but not if you are a foreigner. And, even if one applies for charity it would take time. Does a patient that has spreading tumor have time? Or a patient that is infected with platelets count below 100? how about Lupus panel that costs php 16.000.00 and only available in Pgh? and no, hospitals wont shoulder any of the medicine or other expenses if you are bare. out of all government spending only0.8% pr cent go to healthcare (reference -wikipedia) . If you do not have money or credit card even if your appendix is about to explode your are not welcome to any private hospital. neighbors help you with money as one nurse here said? no way. and even if they want to, could they? with such bills? again, i quote as one nurse lady said here : some doctors offer free help which is not achieved in developed countries. … WOW! whats that nonsense? Most of countries have excellent public hospitals, unlike here. What affordable medicine? Coamoxiclav 1gram – 86 pesos. Generic pharmacy has very basic medicines. Mercuru drug– greedy thieves. Philippines is not a place for weak and sick and poor. i have been here for 10 years. i Know. locals WILL GLADLY TELL ME NOW TO GET OUT OF HERE BECAUSE THEY WANT TO HEAR ONLY GOOD THINGS ABOUT THEIR COUNTRY. proceed. curse me. But have some respect to yourselves and look into negative aspects of your country just like i do . I am not in my country because i hate it there too but for different reason. Healthcare needs drastic change here.


Rory March 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm

I’m Filipino, and I cannot deny that health care is more expensive here in my country compared to others. The private hospitals generally offer quality healthcare, but if you don’t have the money, private hospitals are out of the question, and public hospitals lack the facilities and equipment. Yes, healthcare needs a drastic change, but the government’s main focus is education (and within good reason too, since poverty has always been a problem, though it’s most unfortunate that healthcare is neglected). Then there is corruption, another primary problem in my country, a problem that easily cuts out a large portion of the budget.

As for your comments on locals wanting to hear only good things about their country, let me just say that the number of Filipinos who migrate to other countries is certainly not small. Brain drain runs rampant. Colonial mentality is widespread. How many can say that they are proud to be Filipino? Spouting all her negatives and flaws rubs salt on wounds, and strikes at lingering hopes. I admit that we have problems, that we have our issues. I cannot say that there aren’t many things that just need to change–because indeed there are.


karen kay b. mica April 19, 2012 at 7:52 am

well.. i totally disagree to that statement because in the philippines there are lots of program being formulated just to help the poor and those who cant afford to pay the bills. It is not the fault of the hospitals if the people cannot pay it just implies that one must seek for convenience but not in a way that everything is given freely. It is the first time i hard of kidnapping.. how impossible..better see for yourself.


max1976 April 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm

I saw for myself. And i see it all the time. No- money- no health. Is healthcare a privilege or a luxury? it should be one's right since all pay taxes. Or else the question is why cant we have free and always available healthcare if taxes are paid? Are taxes to be spent to keep government in power and do nothing for citizens? If someone wants anything to be done even in public hospital, there are charges for everything. Now one of relatives of my ex is on radio and chemo in Rizal Memorial. they pay for it, Charges minus philhealth etc still equals to 1.8k for each radiation session plus 18 k for chemo! who can afford it if salaries are 10-15 k a month on average? is not government supposed to take care of their beloved citizens? And if patient dies in hospital, body is not released until all is paid by relatives. tell me its not crime or its not true!


mem June 27, 2012 at 11:45 am

……this is all lies…only the rich can afford the medcations in hospitals wether they are public or not. there is inequality in the ditribution of health resources. there is discrimination in availing heath services, people in hospitals more favor thise who can pay/rich than those who are poor. these medications and hospitalizations, poor people cant afford them.


Betty August 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Having a good friend here in Singapore, she tells me that her Philippine father had to pay 8000Sing Dollar to the hospital in Manila, makes 270 000 P Peso for an operation on his right foot. He is diabetic and they needed cut off one toe. the amount sounds pretty high for me. He is local and no expat so how can that be or is she not informed well? She did not visit home yet. Though the health system on the Philippines is relatively cheap…thanks for your feedback


abu August 30, 2012 at 4:34 am

Lyndon may have the right reaction maybe because of the government problem we have in Philippines. we could pay more cheaper with the high taxation we pay.. but of course their are corrupt people and the worst of it is when poor Filipinos cant have the enough service that they want because of the inequality between poor and rich individual. too many comments, lets look at the bright side of it and don`t forget the dark side of the government.

just think like this, what would happen in a public hospital when a rich businessman and a local farmer would have the same big operation, it would cause the local farmer a life time to pay the bill, in the worst part he may not availbe to take the operation.


Stuart October 27, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Does the Philippines have a health care system for Local philippines children or do they have to pay as well ? My friend has a child in the Philippines and keeps sending over money for healthcare ! thought it was a bit harsh becasuse over in the UK our children get Healthcare free. Please could someone clear this up for me ? many thanks in advance


Natz July 26, 2013 at 7:00 am

Hi Stuart. The child is covered with healthcare only if the parents have applied for Philhealth (Government) or private HMO plan.


Mac McKay, NZ February 13, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Something nice to say about the Philippines Health workers. I was holidaying in Cebu and slipped on some lichen. I did a move to lessen the fall, but split my hand when I slapped the ground, splitting my skin quite badly. I was told to visit a house where a local Doctor lived. He patched me up and referred me to a Medical Clinic for antibiotics and a Tetanus shot. The cost was VERY fair at the Clinic and when I went back to the Doctor's house, he smiled and waived any costs. I paid him anyway, but was amazed at the friendly, caring attitude of thos fine man. In "Modern " countries , I have never found this attitude. Thanks Philippines!!


Leticia May 9, 2013 at 4:31 pm

My family member who was visiting his idea of paradise, dropped almost dead with a stroke. He is american, his only child sending in thousands of dollars everyother day to keep him in hospital until his Americn insurance kicked it. For fourth months, it has been impossible to have him transported to U.S., very obvious he only represents lost potential American income. His daughter made two trips to bring back where U.S. facilities and physicians were waiting to treat him, but it was one denial after the other. When a well known senator took notice of his daughters mission to bring back her father. The physicians retaliated by stating on the medical report that he although he had "NO" signs of infection or was on any antibiotics…he MAY or MAY NOT carry a bacteria and pose a risk to other passengers. They used a scare tactic knowing airlines would not be able to ignore the liability. So we have to pay for air ambulance from PH to U.S. near $200,000. YOu just cant beat them, they will suck up your block, smiling and being very hospital the whole time. So even with money you are doomed because they will just not let you bring you family member back home to US.


Jon August 23, 2013 at 3:15 am

In 2012 I got my pacemaker at the Philippine Heart Center in Manila. The doctors and staff were caring and the surgery was successful. I've been reading (Pacemaker Club) how so many pacemaker recipients have problems after surgery. Knock on wood my surgery and recovery period went without problems. The surgery and care I received at PHC is as good as any offered in any developed country. Then less than a month later I had a major hemorrhoid surgery in La Union (province in Northern Luzon) at a private hospital. The medical attention was excellent. The surgery plus 3 days hospital stay cost me US$1,700. Doctor followups cost me US$7.50 a checkup. Government hospitals may not have the latest equipment, but the standards is good. Patients are attended to by physicians who also attend to private hospitals. In public hospitals you need to wait before being attended to. In addition you need to line up at the pharmacy. In general government hospitals are acceptable by Western standards.


dj June 20, 2014 at 11:59 pm

Most of the hospitals nowadays is no longer doing their “service” to humanity but BUSINESS instead.


Anne June 23, 2014 at 4:09 am

THis article is a lie, government hospitals don’t have a good quality service and facility. It’s dirty and disgusting and bad sevice. Doctor’s and nurses are mean in government or cheap small private hospitals. If you want a little bit of good service you have to have lots of money to go to big expensive hospitals. Plus you need to choose a good doctor, some are stupid and some are unethical so you better choose a good one.
There are only a few hospital that are normal here, like St. lukes, ASian hospital. and some but mostly are trash hospitals, like PGH, Mary Chiles, Pagamutang bayan, Ospital ng maynila, and almost all hospitals are bad. They don’t even do their job properly, the vaccines are not full, the injections are dirty, their hands are dirty, they don’t practice good hygiene. The way they treat patient is just mean or careless. The facility is ugly and dirty, the equipment are old and not accurate. Even dental clinics are so dirty, you can see the outside that looks clean if the facility is newly built but the hygiene is horrible, and the kitchen and bathroom you have to check it. LIke DF Dacanay dental clinic, you think it’s clean but it’s not, they use old dirty filthy sponge for the tools and same is gonna be used for plates and food. The basin is with molds and they put all together the dental tools with the kitchen dishes. And the autoclave is broken and they pretend to sterile but it’s not true there are only a few set of burse and you can’t possibly sterile that with so many patients on schedule and on line with appointment so they use it over and over again, and they just wash it with water. SO when you go to a doctor try to check if she is hygienic and see if assistant nurse is hygienic and check the comfortroom and sink and sponge and all the tools and maybe clean it up for your self and even if it’s mean you should try to be very careful and investigate first and never trust anyone. I did some duty as a nurse when I was a student it did freak me out. I didn’t know that it was that bad. SO now I am so scared and very suspicious of all hospitals and clinics I go to, I don’t want it to happen to me, I need to be sure everything is clean before they put it in me. It’s like working in a food factory, if you have seen how the food is made you will never eat it again.


Michelle September 10, 2014 at 8:07 pm

My uncle is in Sacred Heart Hospital in Cebu City right now. He has a flight home on Sunday but the hospital is saying they won’t release him. We have made payments on his hospital bill all along during his treatment. He is willing to sign a promissory note and continue payments from home. He no longer has access to his disability checks in the Philipines so he has to come home. He can’t walk as he has had a heart attack. He is in a wheel chair and needs to come home. How do we get help to get him home? Can the hospital really hold him hostage? will they put him in jail?
Please advise…we are looking for any and all advice.. we have called the Embassy and others.


Ray December 11, 2014 at 6:39 pm

Here are listed most of the normal medical expenses

And if that doesn’t scare you then read the fine print at the bottom

Please Note: These prices are for hospital services only and do not include fees from physicians, such as your emergency room physician, surgeon, radiologist or anesthesiologist.

You would need to add 80000 php – around $2,000 US to cover the operation
The country sucks if you need medical attention but what can you do
I have had 2 friends forced to stay until their bill was paid in full (dont go there without travel insurance)
People can pray for improvement but that is all that will happen (more praying)
If you can’t get out don’t get sick or die – neither can be afforded
For most it is easier to get a limb removed than to fix it but then you still have to work or you die
The people are far more friendlier than the situation they are in


Ray December 12, 2014 at 6:07 am

I forgot to mention the 2 forced to stay are Filipina’s. The latest had an operation for a broken arm. She had to pay 80,000 up front before she could be booked in. No receipt was offered because it is mainly doctors undeclared income, but the patient must sign there life away, which is used to obtain further money ‘legally’ by having the patient hunted down and arrested if they escape. Then there was a 180,000 hospital bill for 1 weeks stay in hospital. In total it was 260,000 for someone working 6 days for 2000 pesos a week which struggles to cover normal expenses. She decided to escape to stop the bill increasing whilst she got the money. Hospitals, doctors and police verge on being criminals (I take that back – they are criminals – the type that need shooting now and then to keep under control) when they know you can get hold of 80,000 up front. That means there is much more they can force out of you or your family. The one that escaped was given a week to pay the bill but was captured by police before the week was up. Since the doctor knows that the patient has access to money they have no problem inflating the bill and forcing someone into jail to have the family pay. It is similar to being forced to stay in hospital until the bill is paid. Corruption is so common that doctors and police can do anything they like. Some day when bills start being paid by bullet because it is easier and cheaper, it may slow down corrruption, but that would be the only way it will ever happen. It is getting worse and not better. If you are travelling to the Philippines make sure you are covered by travel insurance, otherwise it is the equivalent of being a terrorist hostage, if you pick the wrong doctor (the majority are corrupt because there is no one preventing them from doing it, especially from the government).


chris jobes April 4, 2015 at 8:25 am

Can anyone tell me how i go about getting my monthly medictions on perscription in the philippines


Lew April 18, 2015 at 12:27 am

I, an Australian tourist was recently in Manila and sick. I took the first plane out as this is not a place to be ill in. With the abject poverty and people living in filthy conditions and undernourished I realised the health
of a middle aged male tourist would probably not be a priority for them. One of my banks which had most of my money had been cancelled in error by the bank which left me with about US@600. Until I could get hold of my bank next day. I went to the Makati pharmacy for some asthma preventor as the pollution in Manila had triggered an asthma attack which I hadn’t had for years. The pharmacy wouldn’t give me even some basic asthma treatment without a prescription and I had no idea if the appointment with the doctor would cost me 50 or 1000 dollars. I ended up leaving and got the asthma treatment on the next flight out at Singapore pharmacy without a prescription. Feeling better now.
Just on the ambulance situation in Manila, I have travelled to many places around the world and never seen a road system like this . If you were sick you could die before getting to the hospital. Philippines is suffering from massive overpopulation, why would you want such big families born into such poverty. Also the government must be corrupt as it sure isn’t spending any money on basic services for the community. I feel sorry for anyone living in Manila.


Lew April 18, 2015 at 12:29 am

Overpopulation and poverty have left the Philippine medical and road system in a mess


jwing July 10, 2015 at 7:27 am

How about raw sewage, stray dogs and cats, and trash everywhere..lots of pride


Edward May 22, 2015 at 3:20 am

As a health care professional my experience with health care in the Phil is that I will do everything not to enter a hospital or clinic. I reviewed 12 cases of friends…every diagnosis was wrong, treatments were uneccessary and the physicians were arrogant and condescending to the patients. Health care is only about how much money they can scam you out of. The other inhuman thing is that the hospitals won’t release a deceased body until all bills are paid. Clearly an offense against humanity and decency…and these are so called Catholic hospitals.
The Phil are called the Gates of Hell for a reason!


jwing July 10, 2015 at 7:28 am

but it’s not their fault….Number one excuse


Ballunco July 15, 2015 at 8:39 am

Is true my fiance is Been hostage by the private hospital in davao shshe’s been already discharge but don’t have the money to pay all at once and its been detained until she pays the whole amount..that’s socks that they do it to poor people ..there’s no humanity


jwing July 23, 2015 at 4:59 am

If you have ever waited for hours on end to see a doctor only to be turned away because they have other things to do..then you have witnessed Philippine doctors. The hospitals are filthy and they are always looking in books to see if they can figure out what the problem is. Three family members have gone to the hospitals with different sickness and all died…always not their fault. These were young ..until recently healthy kids and boom dead. I’ll take my chances at home..not in a filthy hospital


Jose Mindanao September 2, 2015 at 5:20 pm

This forum is quite accurate, for Xpats, OFWs and their relative i would suggest to get themselves a health insurance, philippines have lots of great HMO’s such as Intellicare, Maxicare, Maxicard, Cocolife among others, basic monthy contributions will only cost you P600-700 ($15) the cost of a steak in USA or EU thats worth the peace of mind if you ask me, Government Hospitals Annual Buget for is small this is because our Constitution prioritizes Education and Infrastructure above all else, well need charter change to set this up, Philhealth (Universal Health Care) is a great help considering the miniscule monthly payment a worker contributes (eg. Dialysis Patient for a P500/monthly contribution they will get to avail P4000 for 45treatments yearly or a total of P180,000.00 for P6,000.00 annualy…Bankrupt soon maybe?) on the other hand Private Hospitals in the philippines doesnt get any help from the government, Hospital equiptments which cost millions are even Taxed by customs so this will be passed on to the patients, most of them even get loans from Banks which entails another payables with added interests, FYI its against the Law for any Hospital to detain a patient confined in a ward for nonpayment of bills, he/she will be released provided all documents which the hospital may require be given as guarantee of payment. I hope i added a few clarity about philippine healthcare, will check back again soon. CIAO.


guest October 14, 2015 at 10:57 am

unlucky country, basing from history (Philippine name origin) finally gained its independence after being colonized by Spain (centuries), Japan(decades), and America and guess what had just left, corrupt and greedy Filipino officials who instead uplift the country but i think colonizers run already into their blood. The gold of the Philippines was gone with the Spaniards, Japanese and the Americans. This is the truth about the 1700 islands. Added again by a some groups who wants to separate and make their own country and until now left the people of Mindanao in curse. THAT’S WHY POVERTY IS AROUND.


john January 9, 2016 at 2:19 am

if your coming to ph and you need pain meds forget it. if you have surgery your post op med is advil, so if you are on meds for pain you should stay where you are. john


Karl March 15, 2016 at 9:01 am

There is a Philippines law against holding a patient hostages in a hospital.
Patients, except those who stay in private rooms, who are partially or

Patients, except those who stay in private rooms, who are partially or fully recovered and who wish to leave the hospital or medical clinic but are incapable to pay, in part or in full, their hospital bills or medical expenses/ hospitalization expenses shall be allowed to leave the hospital or Hfmedical clinic and shall be issued the corresponding medical certificate and other pertinent documents for their release from the hospital or medical clinic upon execution of a promissory note covering the unpaid obligations. The promissory note shall be secured by either a mortgage, or a guarantee of a co-maker who shall be jointly and severally liable for the unpaid obligations.


john jones December 21, 2016 at 6:55 pm

my girl friend live in the philippines and has a blood disorder. she has to go to hospital about every 4 to 6 months. for 4 dayes and meds for the 4 days is 800 us. dollars and the meds are 320 dollars per month.
is there any health insurance i could get to help eith the costs. i running out of money


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