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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.


9 Responses to “Freelancers and Health Insurance”

  1. Auggie on May 29th, 2014 2:13 pm

    Ano daw sakit ni Jessica, Gerry ? and by the way, not only PHILHEALTH but be sure mag hulog din kayo regularly ng SSS contributions ninyo para pag 60 or 65 na kayo mi Pension FOR LIFE na kayo.It’s not a Kings Ransom , but at least mi pambili na kayo ng regular maintenance medicines ninyo, pambayad sa ilaw at tubig, Cable and phone bills, Pamalengke at groceries…At kung wala pa kayong lote at bahay, start na din kayong maghulog sa PAG-IBIG, at mi mga loans sila for 30 years…Yung sa SSS, lakihan ninyo ang hulog, kung pwede yung MAXIMUM, para mas malaki-laki ang PENSION FOR LIFE ninyo…and not sounding Macabre, pwede na din suguro kayong maghulog sa mga burial & Cremation plans kasi diyan na din tayo papuntang lahat.Ang purpose niyan para hindi na ma burden financially yung mga maiiwanan…

  2. Gerry Alanguilan on May 29th, 2014 5:38 pm

    Thanks Auggie… we also have SSS… kahit Pag-ibig. :)

  3. kc cordero on May 29th, 2014 5:59 pm

    Iyan din ang madalas kong sabihin sa mga batang artist. Isa ring magandang paglaanan ay ang insurance.
    Simula noong 1995 ay kumuha kaming mag-asawa ng insurance. Napagtiyagaan naming hulugan up to now. Ngayon ay hindi na rin kami naghuhulog dahil nasasagot na ng dividendo ang semi-annual na bayad.
    Hindi pa naman ako naaaksidente para maka-claim pero pagsapit namin ng 60 years old (medyo mahigit pang 10 years, he-he) ay may makukuhang lump sum at monthly pension bilang bahagi ng coverage. Sabi nga ni Auggie, may pang-maintenance na sa katawan. :)
    Mahirap maging freelancer dahil walang sumasagot sa ating mga benepisyo at seguridad. Pero tama ka, tayo na dapat ang umasikaso niyon.

  4. Markus on May 29th, 2014 7:37 pm

    Hindi lang sa pagkakasakit natin kundi pati panganganak ni misis. I remember P350.00 lang binayaran ko dati for our first baby because pf PhilHealth. Malaking help talaga sating mga freelancers yan!

  5. Paul Garcia on May 30th, 2014 2:14 am

    Working in a government, my salary is already deducted to Pag-Ibig and GSIS (plus this blasted 30% tax). I hope Jessica will get well soon. Ang daming mga plano pang gagawin niya mismo.

  6. Arvin on May 31st, 2014 12:28 pm

    Bad news though because most hospitals might discontinue PhilHealth recognition in two months’ time. This is because of the failure of government to settle accounts with the hospitals.

    With that said, I just hope that this crisis gets averted by government doing the right thing…

  7. Gerry Alanguilan on May 31st, 2014 5:58 pm

    Hey Arvin… unfortunately, it is true that there is this problem… but I think you misread the news. I think they will only have a problem for the month of June. But like I said, this type of thing usually works out in the end. SSS suffered something similar in the past and they managed to work it out. I think they’ll do the same here.

  8. dennis on June 20th, 2014 4:53 pm

    hi guys!i’m dennis a financial advisor of axa phil. if you need life or health insurance pls call me @ 09194702008. let me know what you need & I can suggest a solution to your problem. you’re not obligated to buy

  9. Paul Garcia on June 21st, 2014 11:41 pm

    Out of the topic (since J. Zafra’s fully recovered and doing well!), but congratulations to you and Leinil Yu’s works in Avengers (currently, 2nd printing in those issues)! Can’t help it, maestro!