Jessica Zafra is an acquaintance of mine for many years now. Today I was kind of shocked to hear of the news of her hospitalization and the call to friends to help her out because, as the article pointed out, “As is the case with almost all artists who work freelance, Jessica does not have health insurance.”
If you want to help out, you can donate. Check out this Facebook post on how to do exactly that.
I wish Jessica all the best and I hope she gets better soon.
She belongs to my generation of writers and artists, and our generation is slowly edging towards that age where we become susceptible to all kinds of illnesses. It’s inevitable. Our body does fail over time. We can take care of it by eating right and exercising, but we can really only do so much. One day, all of us will get sick.
That said, I do feel I have to say something about freelancers and health insurance. And the seeming acceptance that those two terms cannot exist in the same universe.
As a freelancer, YOU CAN have health insurance. You just have to do it voluntarily. And it doesn’t really cost all that much.
Here in the Philippines we have the state backed PHILHEALTH. I know, Filipinos have a general distrust of government, specially when it comes to trusting them with our hard earned money. It is corrupt and money does go to the pockets of corrupt politicians. But believe me, despite glitches here and there, PHILHEALTH is one of those government things that actually work well in the country. I’m not just saying it. It’s based on personal experience. I know there’s a bit of problem with Philhealth right now, but I’m confident it’s nothing that can’t be resolved.
I’ve had Philhealth since 2003. I was paying P300 quarterly, which is only P1200 a year. Today you pay P600 quarterly, which is P2400 year. If you start now, you can start benefiting from it nine months from now. If you are ever hospitalized, Philhealth will take care of a significant amount of that.
For example. Back in 2011, I was hospitalized. I ran a hospital bill for P90,000.00. Philhealth took care of P40,000. That’s a TON of help. I mean, where the heck can you get P40,000 just like that?
It can be daunting at first because of all the paperwork, but I tell you guys it’s all worth it.
If you feel you’re more comfortable with private insurance firms, then by all means! But to be honest, I trust them less than I do government. And yes, that too is based on personal experience. But in any case, at least get some form of insurance. Your future self will be thanking you one day.