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Getting sick can be quite expensive these days. The cost of getting checked, the price of medicines and more so the amounts spent for hospitalization can be quite daunting, often leading many to just bear their pain and suffer in silence. While the Philippines boasts of having some of the best medical practitioners and healthcare providers in the world, they are, ironically, less available to the masses of the Filipino people. This has often led to an unhealthy reliance on self-medication or worse obtaining medical advice from incompetent, unauthorized and unscrupulous individuals.

The sad reality is that many Filipinos are not covered by Philhealth or other public or private healthcare programs. And even if an individual is covered by Philhealth, the subsidy one receives under this system is a mere percentage of overall healthcare cost. As a result, patients are often left to cover the remainder of their expenses by burning a hole through their pockets. In fact, according to Virtual-Asia.com, in a Philippine Special Report dated December 2001, entitled “The Healthcare System in the Philippines”, they say that “while there exists a national health insurance program, pension funds and private insurance plans, personal expenses still account for about 57 percent of all health expenditures.” Further, and adding to the woes of the common “Juan”, it was likewise noted that the prices of medicine in the Philippines are among the highest in the region. Under these circumstances, what can Juan do?

Thankfully, health maintenance organizations (HMO) like Intellicare, have significantly addressed this serious concern. In 1995, Intellicare, commenced operations as an HMO, with a mission of “to uphold the right of each individual to health by making quality healthcare services not only efficient, accessible, and affordable but also compassionate.” Since that time, Intellicare continued to improve its service by ensuring that their doctors are proven to be the best in their chosen fields and that Intellicare is available in the country’s major healthcare facilities. This therefore ensures that all enrolled members of Intellicare would have available to them excellent medical services while under the care of the finest medical doctors at the most cost-effective prices. According to Mr. Jun Roxas, Senior Manager for Account Management, Intellicare is committed to seeing its mission through.

Quality medical care, of course begins, with having quality doctors. Mr. Roxas says that that they only accredit doctors with highly-regarded reputations and exceptional standing Through its medical director, Dr. Ricardo Jocson, himself the renowned head of surgery of Medical City Hospital, they identify doctors who are known specialists in their fields and invite them to be part of the Intellicare family. Often too, they get feedback from their members as to who the best doctors are in their respective locales and they are likewise extended invitations. Through the years, Intellicare has amassed an army of 9,000 doctors scattered all over the nation, ready and able to provide its members excellent medical services.

In order to ensure though that these doctors all subscribe to the mission of Intellicare, they periodically invite their doctors to attend medical audit meetings and conferences. Mr. Roxas says that in this venue, doctors are able to inform Intellicare of the most common maladies they address, while in turn Intellicare is able to explain to the doctors the best and most efficient way of treating these illnesses, without having to require so much expense. As a result, Intellicare is able to ensure for its members the enjoyment of quality medical care at a lower premium.

Complimenting their pool of doctors, Intellicare also affiliated itself with major medical facilities not only in Metro Manila but all around the country. These facilities house the latest and most cutting edge medical equipment available today. Being an Intellicare member, one is therefore allowed access to these facilities without having to face such prohibitive expenses. Mr. Roxas said that Intellicare makes a conscious effort not merely to affiliate themselves with these institutions but to also work closely with them in a business sense. Putting their heads together, they identify ways of effectively and intelligently reducing costs without compromising the quality of the healthcare provided.

In addition, Intellicare continues to find ways to even further improve their services. They recently introduced their swipe card, which ensures a more efficient determination of the eligibilities of the members. This will reduce the time it takes to process requests thus enabling the immediate medical attention. It is hoped that soon other medical information can be included in the swipe card thus assuring that a member’s medical history can be accessed immediately.

Today, HMOs like Intellicare are essential partners of the common Filipino to obtain quality medical care. They provide everyone access to the best doctors, in the best hospitals at the most efficient price. More importantly, they allow everyone, regardless of rank, the exercise of their inherent right to proper healthcare. As more and more Filipinos join HMOs like, Intellicare, getting well is now becoming more affordable.

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