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Like prepaid telco cards, you can start the activation process by scratching the protective ink to reveal the card number, then follow the instructions set by your provider. Most card activations are done via SMS.

Upon registration and activation of the card, all benefits are non-transferable.

You can buy from physical partner stores and online sites. Although some cards may only be available at partner stores, online sites are more convenient and are packed with information about the package you intend to purchase. 

Prepaid health cards cover almost everything offered by comprehensive health insurance. The benefits are tailored based on the type of card. You may choose from different packages that cover the following:

  • Hospitalization – Most prepaid cards provide one-time hospitalization benefit with a minimum coverage of Php25,000 and maximum of Php80,000. This will also include access to medicines, treatments and room for confinement. 
     
  • Consultations – Prepaid cards made health monitoring easy by providing consultation services in an accredited network of hospitals and clinics. 
     
  • Emergency care – Most cards offer one-time emergency coverage for up to Php50,000. It also includes personal accident to cover for up to Php137,000 including medical reimbursement, accidental death, livelihood assistance and disability insurance
     
  • Preventive health care – Providers offer preventive health care coverage usually composed of Annual Physical Exam (APE) and inclusive of general check-up, chest X-ray, complete blood count, urinalysis and fecalysis.
     
  • Dental services - Subscribers may avail of dental services from accredited clinics and enjoy free one-time prophylaxis, free dental consultations and discounts on dental procedures.

Prepaid health cards can be purchased for anyone anytime with coverage based on your budget and the need and age of your beneficiary. On the other hand, comprehensive health insurance policies are planned packages usually paid by employers as an employee benefit. Other similarities and differences are enumerated below:

Differences:

  • Coverage 

Prepaid health cards: Cover only situations and illnesses which you think will be encountered by the person insured. For instance, you can buy a voucher with coverage specifically inclusive of health services for kids such as acute dental pain, dental nutrition and unlimited medical consultations. Prepaid plans offered in packages in which you can easily choose benefits you deem necessary for your intended beneficiary. 

Comprehensive health insurance: Offer coverage on Preventive Care, Hospitalization and Emergencies, but may not yet be needed by everyone since the policy is meant for all employees across all ages. Some HMO packages do not even provide maternity care which can be a disadvantage for female employees. On the other hand, there are included services and treatments which you wish you should not avail of. 

  • Cost  

Prepaid health cards: These are cheaper compared to comprehensive health insurance policies since you only pay for your chosen cover. You can set a minimum one-time payment of Php3,000 which expires depending on the voucher validity. 

Comprehensive health insurance: This is a lot more expensive because of the expanse of its coverage. In general, comprehensive health insurance is provided by the company and individuals need not worry about its cost. 

  • Validity

Prepaid health cards: One downside of prepaid health cards is that these may not be valid for use immediately after purchase. Some cards need 1-2 weeks validation before the beneficiary gets to enjoy the coverages. 

Comprehensive health insurance: Upon approval of your policy, you can immediately enjoy the benefits even without your card. Just make sure you have noted down your policy number, and you can present a valid ID for claims. 

  • Expiration 

Prepaid health cards: Most vouchers expire upon consumption of the cover although some vouchers remain active should they include unlimited benefits for six months or even a year. There are times when your card is still valid, but you have already used up covered services so the voucher could no longer be used. 

Comprehensive health insurance: Your policy expires upon termination of your company’s subscription. 

  • Eligibility

Prepaid health cards: Prepaid plans do not have strict requirements to be approved for a policy. Some providers even allow subscribers over 65 years old to use the vouchers. 

Comprehensive health insurance: Comprehensive plans strictly implements compliance to age and documentary requirements. Your company should follow the guidelines set by the provider to be eligible for the policy. 

Similarities:

  • Excess – For both types of health insurance plans, you have to pay for the amount that exceeds your coverage.
  • Acceptance – Regardless of your health plan type, not all major hospitals in your area may accept your card. Ask for a list of accredited hospitals, clinics and physicians from your insurance provider.

Health insurance is vital to help you out with expenses in times of illness and accidents. You should consider buying one if:

  • You are a freelancer – Freelancers are not employed and do not receive regular incomes and yet are still vulnerable to illness and accidents. Prepaid health can cover emergency room treatment in times of disasters and can provide opportunities for physical examinations and unlimited consultations.
     
  • You have an existing health insurance but would need additional coverage – Employees whose comprehensive health insurance plans do not cover specific benefits which they think are important to them can look for prepaid health cards which offer the specified cover. 
     
  • You have dependents without health insurance – You may be employed and covered by your company’s comprehensive health insurance benefit, but your children, spouse or parents aren’t. In this case, you can purchase prepaid health card for your dependents who are but most likely to fall ill or suffer emergencies. Choosing the health card for kids or the elderly is practical because you can customize the plan specifically for their ages.
     
  • You have helpers – PhilHealth and SSS are already a great relief, but if you think your drivers and helpers at home deserve a little more benefit, then you can buy prepaid health cards for them. This gives you the peace of mind knowing that you have an ally whenever your kid’s yaya falls ill.
     
  • You have project-based employees – The change in business landscape is inevitable and has recently paved the way for project-based staff who work from home. A prepaid health card allows you to retain employees and gives you that competitive advantage against other companies.
     
  • You are a part-time or project-based employee – It may take time before the “endo” (end-of-contract) employment culture can be totally eradicated in the Philippines and being one of those part-time or project-based employees, you may need to buy prepaid health cards to give you the peace of mind for an entire year.

A prepaid health card allows you to choose and pay for specific coverage according to what you think is necessary. It serves like a voucher which you can purchase under certain conditions based on the provider and type of your card. Compared to comprehensive health insurance, the prepaid health card is much cheaper but does not cover full health services and assistance.