Like many countries around the world, the Philippines's ageing population is on the rise. Presently, it is between 6 and 8 percent, but experts predict it could soon reach 12 to 15 percent.

Recognizing the growing number of the elderly, who will likely need medical attention sooner or later, the Philippine Health Insurance Corp, or Philhealth, has updated its aged care benefits. 

"The elderly population needs to be cared for, and Philhealth will continue to work hand-in-hand with organizations like the Philippine Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology to make caring for the elderly a stronger advocacy," Philhealth's head executive assistant Dr Israel Francis Pargas said.

He delivered the message at the PSGG convention, whose theme was "Saklolo, Saklola: Problems, Updates in Aged Care", held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Among the cases with hospitalization that entitle senior citizens to Philhealth benefits are pneumonia high-risk (Php  32,000) hypertension - stage 11 (Php 9,000), Osteoporosis (Php  7,900) osteoarthritis (Php 7,000), vascular dementia (Php 7,800) and cardiac arrhythmias (Php 12,000). 

It also includes congestive heart failure (Php 15,700), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (Php 12,000), myocardial infarction (Php 12,000), diabetes complications (Php 12,600) and asthma (Php 9,000).

“We are happy that acute care is being taken cared of by PhilHealth. But we want it somehow extended in the long term care or outside and that is what we are doing right now,” he said.

In addition, Dr Pargas noted that the state-insurer will ensure the implementation of Administrative Order No. 2017-0001 of the Department of Health (DOH), or the Policy Guidelines on the Standards of Care for Older Persons in all Health Care Settings.

According to the AO, the increasing number of older Filipino is the result of increasing life expectancy and reduction of fertility rates.

“There shall be established a “senior citizens ward” in every government hospital, [which will be] for the exclusive use of senior citizens who are in need of hospital confinement by reason of their health conditions,” the AO further states.

The PhilHealth noted that with these developments, the agency and the PSGG will closely coordinate together in order to strengthen their partnership in delivering quality health care for the older adult. MIMS

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