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How to Find Financial Assistance for Cancer Patients in the Philippines: A Quick Guide by Hope From Within

The treatments of cancer often come with expensive medical bills. The entire cancer patient journey, from diagnosis all the way to palliative care, can easily cost up to millions of pesos. This sum of money is an enormous amount for the average Filipino household. Fortunately, there are many different ways in which a cancer patient may get financial assistance.

Below is a list of available government entities that provide financial support to cancer patients.

Department of Health

The DOH’s Medical Assistance Program (MAP) provides financial support for cancer patients anywhere in the country as long as they are PhilHealth members or endorsed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

To qualify for assistance, the patient must present the following requirements:

  • Patient profile
  • Medical history
  • Treatment plan
  • Doctor’s prescription
  • Request letter for financial assistance
  • Latest valid IDs

Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office

The PCSO has established its Individual Medical Assistance Program[1] (IMAP) with the goal of providing financial support to individuals with medical problems. Under this program, the PCSO issues a guarantee letter to the medical facility where the patient is confined. Through the guarantee letter, the organization assumes the responsibility of paying the amount stated in the letter for the expenses incurred by the patient.

To apply for the IMAP, the patient must submit the following requirements:

  • PCSO IMAP Application Form
  • Request Letter addressed to the Chairman/General Manager
  • Medical/Clinical Abstract and Histopathology result
  • Treatment plan
  • Valid ID of patient and representative
  • Bill and costing from the Hospital
  • Relevant laboratory results
  • Endorsement letter from medical social services

Department of Social Welfare and Development

The DSWD provides medical assistance through its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis[2]. The beneficiaries of the program include but are not limited to: families or individuals who are indigent, vulnerable, disadvantaged, or those listed as poor based on the DSWD Listahan, government employees, and Contract of Service Workers, those who are in crisis as assessed by Social Workers.

Requirements for eligibility include:

  • Clinical abstract or medical certificate
  • Prescription by the attending physician, with date and name of the patient
  • Certificate of Indigency
  • Valid ID of the patient

These documents must be submitted to the respective Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) of the Department.

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation

PAGCOR continues to provide medical assistance primarily to chemotherapy and dialysis patients even during this pandemic. To prevent the spread of the virus, PAGCOR has implemented a “No Contact Application[3]” policy in which the organization will only receive assistance requests through their dropbox.

Here are the documents patients must submit through their dropbox to apply for assistance:

  • Request Letter addressed to PAGCOR or Chairman Andrea Domingo
  • Medical abstract
  • Social case study
  • Valid IDs of the patient and representative
  • Contact information
  • Proof of assistance from the PCSO

Office of the Vice President

The OVP also provides financial assistance to eligible patients through partner service providers[4]. Individuals may receive assistance from the OVP once every 12 months.

Those confined in suite rooms, private rooms, or private wards by choice are ineligible for assistance.

Below is the list of requirements the patient needs to apply for medical assistance:

  • Endorsement letter signed by the medical social worker addressed to the OVP
  • Bank details of the hospital for assistance outside OVP’s service delivery network
  • Medical Assistance Application Form signed by the patient and/or authorized representative
  • Social Case Study Report
  • Medical Records
  • Valid ID of the patient and representative

Senate of the Philippines

Most members of the Senate of the Philippines offer assistance[5] to any patient from any government hospital in the country. Applicants must bring the following requirements to their office in the GSIS Building in Roxas Blvd., Pasay City:

  • Valid ID of the patient and representative
  • Prescription
  • Relevant laboratory results
  • Social case study
  • Medical abstract
  • Treatment protocol
  • Certificate of Indigency
  • Endorsement letter from the hospital
  • Bill and costing from the hospital
  • Personal letter addressed to one of the following Senators: Pimentel, Sotto, Aquino, Cayetano, De Lima, Escudero, Pacquiao, Trillanes, Binay

Patients can also opt to send a request for assistance online, following these instructions found on the website of the Senate of the Philippines.

House of Representatives

The House of Representatives offers financial assistance to patients from the National Kidney Transplant Institute, Philippine Heart Center, and East Avenue Medical Center, mostly through guarantee letters. Their requirements are as follows:

  • Prescription
  • Medical certificate
  • Social case study
  • Medical Abstract
  • Treatment protocol
  • Certificate of Indigency

These requirements can only be submitted every MONDAY from 8 AM to 5 PM, at Constitutional Hills, Quezon City. However, due to the pandemic, the House of Representatives only currently accepts requests for assistance through email.

PWD Benefits

As per RA 11215[6] or the National Integrated Cancer Control Act, cancer patients, and cancer survivors are considered persons with disabilities (PWDs) and are eligible to receive all the rights and privileges of PWDs. Therefore, cancer patients may apply for financial assistance from the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) or the DSWD unit in their locality.

The patient must first secure his or her PWD ID card in order to receive the benefits[7] such as exemption from paying value-added tax on goods and services, including medicine and medical procedures.

Apart from the options mentioned above, there are also some other government entities that can provide financial assistance for cancer patients such as local government units.

Also, cancer patients can seek help from private foundations such as The Pink for Life and Soroptimist Ortigas Foundations which provide assistance for breast cancer patients in early stages, and Louie Jacinto Foundation and Kythe Foundation which provide free medicines for indigent patients.8

With enough research, one can get a lot of help with his or her cancer medication. The path to recovery from cancer should not be taken alone. Help is available.

References:

  1. “How to Apply to PCSO Medical Assistance Program | Requirements & Guides.” Government PH. https://governmentph.com/pcso-medical-assistance-program/. Accessed June 22, 2021.
  2. “PAGCOR implements “No contact application” policy for medical assistance requests.” (2020, February 13). PAGCOR. https://www.pagcor.ph/press-releases/pagcor-no-contact-application-policy-for-medical-assistance.php Accessed  June 22, 2021.
  3. “Guidelines on the availment of medicine assistance funded under the President’s P1 billion fund.” Judy M. Taguiwalo. https://www.dswd.gov.ph/issuances/MCs/MC_2016-014.pdf. Accessed  June 22, 2021.
  4. “Medical Assistance.” Office of the Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines. https://ovp.gov.ph/programs/medical-assistance Accessed June 22, 2021.
  5. “Find Medical Assistance.” Philippine Cancer Society. http://www.philcancer.org.ph/find-medical-assistance-2/. Accessed June 22, 2021.
  6. “RA 11215 – An Act Institutionalizing A National Integrated Cancer Program And Appropriating Funds Therefor.” National Council on Disability Affairs. https://www.ncda.gov.ph/disability-laws/republic-acts/ra-11215/ Accessed  June 22, 2021.
  7. “RA 10754 – An Act Expanding The Benefits And Priviledges Of Persons With Disability (PWD).” National Council on Disability Affairs. https://www.ncda.gov.ph/disability-laws/republic-acts/republic-act-no-10754-an-act-expanding-the-benefits-and-privileges-of-persons-with-disability-pwd/ Accessed August 4, 2021.
  8. “How to Apply for Cancer Medical Assistance in the Philippines.” Hope From Within. https://hopefromwithin.org/cancer-medical-assistance-in-philippines/. Accessed June 22, 2021. PH-KEY-00067

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