In the Philippines, qualified cancer patients can get financial or health assistance from certain government agencies and officials as well as private charity organizations to cover part of the cost of treatment and medicines. If the patient has no or with insufficient health insurance, the caregiver can apply for assistance on the patient’s behalf at the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Department of Health
The DOH provides financial support in helping treat cancer for patients anywhere in the country if they are PhilHealth members or endorsed by the DSWD.
The patient can apply for assistance by presenting to a DOH Hospital – Medical Assistance Program and meet the applicable qualifications and requirements:
- Their patient profile
- Diagnosis history
- Plan of treatment/doctor’s report
- Prescription and drug prices
- A letter requesting financial assistance
- A photocopy of an identification card with latest picture and signature
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office
The PCSO’s Individual Medical Assistance Program (IMAP) provides financial assistance for cancer treatments chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy based on the classification system established under the program. To apply for this subsidy, the patient must present:
- Valid IDs
- Accomplished PCSO Individual Medical Assistance Program application form
- Original copy of the statement of account
- Endorsement from medical social services
- Relevant laboratory results
- Progress notes from a physician
- Medical abstract and histopath
- Biopsy results for chemotherapy patients.
After submitting the documentary requirements, the patient is interviewed by a PCSO IMAP representative. A patient can reapply for assistance 30 days after getting a subsidy.
Cancer patients are classified as persons with disability (PWD), so they can also apply of financial assistance from the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) or DSWD office in their locality, according to the National Integrated Cancer Control Act Section 25 and 26, Article VII.4
To qualify for the assistance, the patient should first apply for a PWD ID card, which can be used to be exempted from paying value-added tax on goods and services. To apply, fill out a DSWD or PDAO application form, attach three 1×1 ID pictures and the medical abstract, and undergo an interview.
Social Security Service (SSS) members are entitled to health and sickness or disability benefits.
Home-confined patients can reimburse treatment expenses from SSS by notifying the employer, who then files a claim for reimbursement. PhilHealth members can also have their benefits pay for part of their hospital bill by submitting a filled-out PhilHealth Claim Form 1 before discharge.
Help From Foundations
Breast cancer organizations in the Philippines such as The Pink for Life and Soroptimist Ortigas Foundations provide assistance for Stage 1 and 2 breast cancer patients. Applicants have to submit a pathology report, patient details and list of medicines or chemotherapy agents by fax to 6365578 or by email via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indigent patients can get free medicines from the Louie Jacinto Foundation or Kythe Foundation by submitting a proof of income or a certificate of indigency issued by the barangay office. The foundation gives checks payable to the billing department of the hospital where the patient is confined to get free medicines until they are discharged or have fully recovered.
1. “Patient Support.” Philippine Society of Medical Oncology. www.psmo.org.ph/copy-of-downloadable-materials Accessed October 29, 2018.
2. “Individual Medical Assistance Program.” Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
www.pcso.gov.ph/ProgramsAndServices/CAD/IMAP.aspx October 29, 2018.
3. “PCSO Medical Assistance Program.” Government PH.
https://governmentph.com/pcso-medical-assistance-program/ October 29, 2018.
4. “An Act Institutionalizing a National Integrated Cancer Control Program and Appropriating Funds.” https://thecorpusjuris.com/legislative/republic-acts/ra-no-11215.php. Accessed May 3, 2019.
5. “Disability Benefit.” Republic of the Philippines Social Security System.
www.sss.gov.ph/sss/appmanager/pages.jsp?page=disabilitypension. October 29, 2018.
6. “Benefits.” PhilHealth. www.philhealth.gov.ph/benefits/ October 29, 2018.
7. “The Community.” I Can Serve Foundation.www.icanservefoundation.org/thecommunity/other-services/#Pink-for-Life-Foundation. October 29, 2018.
8. “Cancer Treatment in the Philippines Isn’t Cheap, But Don’t Lose Hope.”
https://www.ecomparemo.com/info/cancer-treatment-in-the-philippines-isnt-cheap-butdont-lose-hope/ Accessed May 3, 2019.