U.S. Medicare in the Philippines Campaign
We, Filipino Americans, medical professionals, retirees and community advocates, invite you to join our campaign to convince President Obama and the US Congress to allow Medicare benefits coverage in the Philippines.
Hundreds of thousands of Filipino doctors, nurses,
medical professionals, teachers and workers immigrated in the 1960s, 70s and
80s upon the invitation of U.S. medical and educational institutions and businesses
to fulfill the needs of the American People.
Our Filipino American immigrant professionals are retiring at the rate of 100 PER DAY. They are part of the daily "tsunami" of 10,000 baby boomers who reach 65-years. Under U.S. law, they can take their Social Security pensions anywhere in the world. However, the law does not provide Medicare benefit coverage overseas – unlike private medical insurance.
With decades of work, they have paid into Medicare. They deserve portability of benefits at internationally accredited hospitals and health care providers in the country of their birth.
WHAT ARE THE FACTS?
Medicare may go bankrupt in twelve years, according to the 2011 Medicare Trustees report.
News stories everyday report the worsening budget crisis facing our government. Because of the deep recession, high unemployment, reduced tax revenues and increasing health care expenses, Medicare may run out of funds in 2024. Social Security benefits may also face cuts or increased requirements.
IS PORTABILITY A PART OF THE SOLUTION?
YES. Medicare can save at least fifty percent in costs if they allow American beneficiaries to be covered in the Philippines.
The current annual cost per beneficiary is $11,743. We estimate that taxpayers will save at least $5,000 per year for each Filipino American senior who chooses to return to their country of birth and avail of quality health care there.
With this estimate of cost savings, if 200,000 retirees choose to reside in the Philippines, the Medicare savings would be $1,000,000,000 ($1 Billion) per year. This dramatic savings could help meet our U.S. government’s investments in job creation, education, infrastructure and small businesses - or reducing the budget deficit.
CAN THIS BE DONE?
PH Medical Tourism Delegation led by DoT Asst. Sec. Benito Bengzon and the representatives of top Manila hospitals were urged to support the Medicare Portability Feasibility Study at the PH Embassy Washington, September 19, 2014. The representatives were St. Lukes' senior V.P. Marilen Lagniton, The Medical City marketing director Millete Escasinas, Makati Med. V.P. Arlyn Songco and Asian Hospital's founder Dr. Jorge Garcia. They participated in the 7th World Medical Tourism Congress.
There are precedents. US citizen residents of Guam because of proximity are allowed to obtain critical medical treatment in Philippine hospitals that meet Joint Commission International (JCI) standards. Their costs are reimbursed by Medicare or by private insurance plans.
Moreover, the Pentagon’s TRICARE and the VA Department's health coverage reimburse thousands of U.S. military retirees who live in the Philippines.
GOAL in 2014
Our goal in 2014 is to obtain a PH healthcare industry study of the past year's savings experience and the quality of care provided to tens of thousands of US military retirees in the TRICARE PH program and to the 30,000 Guam Medicare beneficiaries who can be treated at the top PH hospitals at the negotiated low charges. This study could recommend the feasibility of extending Medicare coverage to visiting Filipino American seniors and U.S. retirees and the projected savings to CMS and the American taxpayers.
In 2015, we aim for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
(CMS) to allow Medicare Advantage (Part
C) insurance companies to pay directly the top Philippine hospitals and
their doctors for treating American retirees on a long-term basis.
HOW ABOUT ACCOUNTABILITY TO PREVENT FRAUD?
These JCI accredited hospitals could demonstrate accountability, high quality of care, standardization of professional fees and use of electronic health records (EHR) to meet strict CMS rules. Fraud would be reduced to almost zero.
The CMS review of this industry study and feasibility of Medicare Advantage insurance companies extending coverage would validate the dramatic savings and care during this period.
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER:
With the budget crisis we face, our proposal deserves the support of your president, two senators, and congress member. E-mail them at their websites:
U.S. Senate: senate.gov
President Barack Obama: whitehouse.gov
Ask them to support Medicare Portability and the bill soon to be introduced in Congress.
Former PH President Fidel V. Ramos partnered with US Medicare PH leaders in May 2011.
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Maraming salamat po!
For: Daisy TUCAY RN, Interim Board Chair, and Board Members
ERIC LACHICA, Interim Organizer & Incorporator
US Medicare PH, Inc. 1825 Great Falls St. McLean VA 22101