Can I Use HMO Without PhilHealth?

For many people in the Philippines, having health insurance is a top priority. Given the often high costs of medical care, coverage helps ensure you can access healthcare without financial hardship. When considering options, you may be wondering – can I use HMO even if I don’t have PhilHealth?

The short answer is yes, you can utilize an HMO plan without being a PhilHealth member. However, there are some important factors to understand when relying solely on private HMO coverage.

Below we will explore how HMOs work with and without PhilHealth, the benefits and drawbacks of each scenario, and tips for getting optimal coverage:

Overview of PhilHealth and HMO Plans

First, let’s briefly explain these two main health insurance options in the Philippines:

  • PhilHealth – National government health insurance program mandatory for all citizens. Provides basic coverage for inpatient and select outpatient services. Paid for via premium contributions.

  • HMO – Private health maintenance organization plans provided by insurance companies. Offer broader coverage with higher benefit limits. Purchased individually or by employers.

Many people have both PhilHealth and an HMO plan to get comprehensive coverage. But HMO plans can also be purchased standalone.

Using HMO Without PhilHealth

If you opt to only have private HMO insurance without PhilHealth, here is how it will work:

  • You can access the same providers – Most HMOs have provider networks encompassing major hospitals and clinics that also accept PhilHealth.

  • Pre-existing conditions are still covered – HMOs provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, unlike PhilHealth’s one year waiting period.

  • You pay more out-of-pocket – Without PhilHealth to cover a portion, you must pay the full cost for services up to your HMO benefit limit.

  • Annual limits apply – HMO benefits are capped annually, after which you cover 100% of costs.

  • No government contribution – You lose PhilHealth’s premium subsidy for lower income individuals.

So in general, you can utilize the same facilities and doctors with just HMO coverage. However, you take on a larger financial share without PhilHealth assistance.

Pros and Cons of HMO Without PhilHealth

There are some advantages but also drawbacks to having only private HMO coverage:

Potential Advantages

  • Don’t need to pay PhilHealth premiums
  • Don’t need to qualify for PhilHealth membership
  • Lower income individuals can get coverage
  • Pre-existing conditions covered immediately

Potential Disadvantages

  • No government premium subsidy if eligible
  • Lose PhilHealth’s first-payer cost coverage
  • Must pay larger share of medical bills
  • Risk hitting annual limits sooner

The right choice depends on your healthcare needs and income level. For low utilization, HMO alone could suffice. But for major or chronic conditions, the lack of PhilHealth coverage may result in higher out-of-pocket costs.

Tips for Getting Adequate Coverage

If you do plan to rely on HMO coverage only, here are some tips:

  • Choose generous benefits – Prioritize higher annual limits and lower deductibles when selecting an HMO plan.

  • Consider add-ons – Supplement with emergency coverage and critical illness riders for added financial protection.

  • Build emergency fund – Have savings to cover medical costs once annual limits are reached.

  • Pay premiums on time – Don’t risk lapsing HMO coverage since it’s your only health insurance.

  • Get PhilHealth if eligible – Enroll if you meet requirements to take advantage of first-payer coverage.

  • Compare costs – Weigh premiums and out-of-pocket costs under PhilHealth + HMO vs just HMO.

While possible, relying solely on private HMO insurance can expose you to greater financial liability for medical care. Weigh options carefully and combine approaches if feasible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to common questions about using HMO coverage without PhilHealth:

Is it mandatory to have PhilHealth if I have an HMO?

No, it is not legally mandatory to have PhilHealth coverage if you have a private HMO plan. However, having both provides comprehensive coverage.

What does an HMO cover that PhilHealth doesn’t?

HMOs cover outpatient care and have higher annual benefit limits. They also cover pre-existing conditions without a waiting period.

Can I use my HMO card without activating PhilHealth membership?

Yes, you can use just your HMO card to access your health plan’s provider network for covered care up to annual limits.

Do I have to inform providers I don’t have PhilHealth?

It’s a good idea to proactively inform them you only have HMO coverage so they understand you have higher out-of-pocket costs.

Will I be denied care without PhilHealth?

No, providers that accept your HMO should not deny treatment simply because you don’t have PhilHealth. But you will need to pay more.

Is having only HMO enough protection?

For healthy individuals with minimal medical needs, HMO alone may provide adequate coverage. But it lacks PhilHealth’s first-payer coverage.

Can I still reimburse medical expenses without PhilHealth?

Yes, you can still submit itemized bills and request reimbursement up to your HMO’s annual limits. PhilHealth is not required.

Will HMOs cover COVID-19 hospitalization without PhilHealth?

Yes, COVID-19 hospitalization is covered under most HMO plans up to annual limits with or without PhilHealth membership.



Can I get personal HMO in the Philippines?

This is commonly provided on top of PhilHealth. With that said, you may also purchase HMO for yourself and your family. HMO organizations offer various benefits, such as coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and those aged 60 and above.

Is HMO better than health insurance?

HMO plans typically have lower monthly premiums. You can also expect to pay less out of pocket. PPOs tend to have higher monthly premiums in exchange for the flexibility to use providers both in and out of network without a referral. Out-of-pocket medical costs can also run higher with a PPO plan.

What is HMO for employees in the Philippines?

An HMO plan refers to the medical and healthcare benefits that an employee is entitled to. Should they encounter an emergency, they can pull this out anytime to cover a percentage of the cost. Not only that, each member gets access to the plan’s network. This includes the list of accredited hospital partners and perks.

Should I get PhilHealth?

Government agencies like PhilHealth make it possible for Filipinos of all backgrounds to have social and financial safety nets. Being a PhilHealth member can assist you during tough times of emergencies for you and your family’s medical needs.

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