TACLOBAN CITY – The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) has extended the “all can avail policy” until December 31, 2016 for survivors of supertyphoon “Yolanda” in the region. The national government recently approved the extension noting that many disaster victims are still reeling from the impacts of the 2013 typhoon that caused much destruction across the region. “This means that all PhilHealth members and even non-members who are residents of Region 8 can avail of the health insurance benefits,” Walter Bacareza, Philhealth vice president for Eastern Visayas, said. Under the policy, the state-run health insurance firm applies exemption from the 45-day benefit limit and single period confinement, submission of claims within 120 days upon discharge (by the facility to PhilHealth), and extension of the accreditation validity or submission of application of healthcare providers. To avail of the benefits, all patients have to fill out a PhilHealth Member Registration Form (PMRF) and submit it to the hospital before discharge. The PhilHealth benefits will be deducted from the total hospital bill. In 2015, benefits payments of PhilHealth Eastern Visayas have reached P4.39 billion, representing a 48.7 percent increase compared to previous year. About 85 percent of patients in the region have availed the benefits from their office last year with most of them Yolanda survivors. (SARWELL Q.MENIANO)