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How to get health insurance as an expat in the Philippines

How To Get Health Insurance As An Expat In The Philippines

avatar - Lee Doran

Lee Doran

Underwriting Manager

As an expat living in or moving to the Philippines, you may be considering private health insurance. An international insurance plan can help you access the best hospitals with English-speaking doctors if you’re going to live in Manila. However, if you’ll be residing outside the capital, you may want an insurance plan that includes air ambulances and medical evacuation so you can get to Manila quickly in a health emergency. 

With William Russell, you can get coverage for unexpected health crises and routine medical exams in the Philippines and beyond. Read on to discover how to get private health insurance as an expat, how to have cover with William Russell, and the Philippines’ local healthcare system.

How to get health insurance in the Philippines

You have two options – using a broker or contacting an insurance provider directly. Brokers can present you with many insurance policies from various providers, allowing you to compare and choose the one that best suits your needs.

Your second option is going straight to the insurance provider. This method enables you to get a quote directly, ask questions, and find out the finer details about the policy, ensuring no grey areas. Even if you are considering using a broker, getting a quote online for individual providers can be worth it – it’s a fast process and will only take you a few minutes.

For example, some of the top health insurance providers for the Philippines includes:

Since we’re the ones writing this article, we’ll go into more detail on how to have medical cover in the Philippines with William Russell.

How to get health insurance with William Russell

Becoming a William Russell member is a breeze. You can get a quote online in less than two minutes and have your plan set up in as little as 24 hours.

Here’s how to become a member:

  1. Get a quote specific to the Philippines by adding a few personal details.
  2. We’ll show you a monthly price range for our four insurance plans (Bronze, SilverLite, Silver and Gold).
  3. Next, choose your plan. You can personalise it with coverage add-ons, your preferred excess, payment frequency, and your area of cover. At the bottom of the page, you’ll see your monthly premium based on your selections.
  4. Finalise your plan. We’ll assign you a team member who will make sure you have a clear understanding of your chosen health insurance policy.
  5. As soon as you confirm your plan, we’ll send the policy off for approval. When we receive your first payment, you’ll become a valued member of William Russell.

How William Russell works 

At William Russell, you can take out plans for income protection, life insurance and health insurance.

We offer four plan levels for our health insurance: Bronze, SilverLite, Silver, and Gold. Here’s a quick glance at what each plan covers:

Cover on all our plans

  • Hospital treatment
  • Local ambulances (including air ambulance)
  • Advanced diagnostic tests
  • Cancer treatment (including genome testing of cancerous cells)
  • Transplants
  • Emergency medical evacuation
  • Access to a 24hr emergency helpline

Cover on some of our plans

  • Doctor visits and other out-patient care (all plans but Bronze)
  • Routine pregnancy & maternity care (Gold plan only*)
  • Dental care (different options on SilverLite, Silver & Gold**)
  • Mental health treatment (Bronze, Silver & Gold)

*Bronze and Silver plans cover complications of pregnancy
**All plans cover emergency restorative dental treatment

We understand that being able to travel is essential to our members, so we offer coverage in three different zones if you’re living in Southeast Asia. In the Philippines, you can choose from worldwide cover, including restricted access in the US, worldwide with no cover in the US, or cover in Southeast Asia only. 

Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 7
Worldwide cover, with restricted cover in the USA Full cover in most countries, with restricted cover where private healthcare is expensive but no cover in the USA Full cover in Southeast Asia only

We know that many people find setting up their insurance stressful. But at William Russell, we aim to make your insurance experience as seamless and transparent as possible. Our plans are jargon-free and written in plain English, so you’ll know exactly what you’re signing up for.

Here is a quick overview of our claims process so you can better understand how we work: 

Making a claim

Making a claim with us is straightforward. 

  • For out-patient claims, you pay for the medical services, and we reimburse your medical expenses. If your claim exceeds US$500, we require a doctor’s note. 
  • For in-patient claims in a hospital in the William Russell network, we’ll pay your medical costs with the hospital directly.
  • In an emergency, we step in to take care of logistics, ensuring you can focus on your health without the stress of handling paperwork or payments.

Asking for emergency medical evacuation 

If you find yourself in a life or limb-threatening situation and you can’t get help locally, call our emergency helpline. Our team will assess the necessity for evacuation and, if you need it, we’ll arrange the transport (even an air ambulance if the situation calls for it).

Why choose William Russell? 

The Philippines is a popular destination, and many insurance providers can offer you a plan there. So what makes us stand out? Becoming a William Russell member has several advantages over other plans: 

Specialists in international medical insurance

William Russell are specialists in international insurance, making us an ideal choice for expats. We’ve been providing health insurance coverage, income protection, and life insurance plans for people living and working abroad since 1992. Our high customer satisfaction ratings (4.4/5 on Feefo) reflect our commitment to building strong relationships with our members.

Easy claims process

We’ve simplified the claims process to ensure smooth, stress-free experiences for our members. Whether you need inpatient or outpatient care, our procedures are transparent and all our plans are easy to understand. With William Russell, you can focus on your recovery while we take care of the rest.

Wondering how easy it is to make a claim?
Get the lowdown here

Personalised claim handling within 10 days

Even though we have 30+ years of experience and over 150 members across the world, we offer personalised service and aim to handle your claim within 10 days. This ensures every member gets the attention they deserve. You can expect a streamlined and efficient claims process with a dedicated policy manager assigned to you. You’ll have their direct contact, so you won’t have to wait in a call centre line for an update on your claim.

Specialist team for cancer, emergency, and maternity claims

When dealing with a serious health condition, the last thing you want is for your insurance provider to be unsure of the finer details. That’s why we have specially trained team members for emergencies, cancer, and maternity claims, ensuring you have experts to guide you through these critical health issues.

Partnerships with top hospitals

We’ve established partnerships with leading medical facilities to provide you with the best healthcare services. You have the freedom to choose any hospital within your area of coverage (based on claim eligibility). But if you choose a hospital in our network, we’ll pay them directly, meaning you don’t need to worry about paying upfront.

Many private hospitals in the Philippines are in the
William Russell network – see the full list here

24/7 medical emergency helpline

With our round-the-clock helpline, you’re always supported during a medical emergency. If you find yourself in a life or limb-threatening situation and can’t be treated locally, we’ll make the necessary evacuation arrangements. With our Medevac Plus option (available as an add-on to all our plans), we’ll pay for you and a companion to travel back to your home country.

Designed for global citizens

William Russell is an excellent choice for anyone planning to spend 6 months or more in the Philippines annually. Our wide range of members includes retirees seeking a tranquil life, students immersing themselves in a new culture, expats engaged in work assignments, and employers who prioritise their team’s health and well-being. With our comprehensive health plans and personalised areas of overage, you can find the right plan for your needs.

Insurance that comes with you

We realise you don’t want to feel restricted when you travel as an expat. That’s why we designed our plans with personalised areas of cover so you can choose to protect your health wherever you are, whether you plan to travel extensively across the globe or stay within Southeast Asia. William Russell can be by your side the world over.

Find out more about our areas of cover
Check out our ultimate guide

The trust of 30+ years of experience

We pride ourselves on our long-standing experience and expertise in the international insurance sector. We’ve been carefully crafting our plans for over three decades, with all policies insured by a company within the respected Allianz Group. This ensures our members benefit from the best of both worlds – our boutique-like approach and specially designed plans combined with the robust reliability of a globally recognised insurer.

Want to know how we’re transforming the landscape of insurance?
Find out more about our story from our founder here

How the healthcare system works in the Philippines

The Philippines government offers universal healthcare to its citizens through the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). The quality of healthcare in the Philippines varies, depending on where you live. Urban areas have high standards of public healthcare, while rural communities only have access to limited services.

If you’re employed in the Philippines, you’ll be automatically (and legally) enrolled in PhilHealth. Expats can also voluntarily contribute to PhilHealth for subsidised medical care, or they can pay upfront. Even then, some specialised medical treatments may require out-of-pocket payment even with PhilHealth coverage.

Many expats choose to sign up for international healthcare insurance, so they can take advantage of the private hospitals in the Philippines, which are of an incredibly high standard.

Staying healthy in the Philippines: 4 pieces of advice

While the Philippines is a popular destination for expats and is fairly safe, it’s important to make sure you take a few safety precautions for greater peace of mind.

Here are four tips to stay safe in the Philippines:

  1. Drink only bottled water: Tap water in the Philippines is not drinkable – even in the cities. By opting for bottled water, you can reduce the risk of water-borne diseases caused by contamination. 
  2. Get vaccinated: The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the UK National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) recommend you vaccinate for hepatitis A, typhoid, hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, and rabies to prevent common local diseases.
  3. Take precautions against malaria: Use mosquito repellents to guard against mosquito-borne diseases, such as malaria. 
  4. Be cautious around street food: While there is plenty of delicious street food available in the Philippines, it’s important to remember that hygiene standards can sometimes be questionable. Trust your gut, and don’t eat somewhere if you’re not confident it’s hygienic. 


The cost of health insurance in the Philippines varies widely depending on factors such as age, medical history, and areas of cover. 

We realise every person’s situation is different, so at William Russell, we offer a broad range of options to help you find a plan that suits your budget and meets your healthcare and medical needs. Here’s an example of our health insurance prices based on plans and age for the Philippines:

Bronze SilverLite Silver Gold
Age 30 US$94 US$134 US$173 US$310
Age 35 US$98 US$141 US$181 US$320
Age 40 US$110 US$157 US$202 US$360
Age 45 US$140 US$192 US$246 US$432
Age 50 US$191 US$240 US$309 US$550

All prices in the table above are monthly and are based on the US$250 per annum excess and Zone 2, with the plan starting in 2023

Find out more about how much expat health insurance costs

Absolutely. Foreigners residing in the Philippines can apply for private health insurance through a broker or directly with an insurance provider, such as William Russell

Alternatively, you can join the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). Bear in mind that even with PhilHealth, you may still have to pay for more specialised procedures.

While health insurance is not mandatory for travelling to the Philippines, if you’re employed in the Philippines, you’re legally required to sign up to public health system through PhilHealth. However, many employers also offer private health insurance plans, so their teams can take advantage of the many state-of-the-art private hospitals in the country.

Interested in covering your team? Get a quote

The three types of health insurance programs available in the Philippines are PhilHealth, Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs like Maxicare, Medicard, Intellicare), and private insurance companies. 

Expats who want the best facilities in the Philippines typically sign up for private insurance.

This largely depends on your insurance plan. Some US health insurance plans may cover international care, but it’s always best to check with your provider before travelling.

Choose William Russell for health insurance in the Philippines

Investing in a quality health insurance plan when moving to the Philippines can allow you and your family to live well without worrying about whether you’ll get the healthcare you need, especially if you have critical illness or injury. 

With a wide range of plans, exceptional customer service, and hassle-free processes, William Russell is your ideal partner for your adventure in the Philippines. Our dedicated policy managers will understand your specific needs and provide the highest standards of care and assistance. 

Ready for a health insurance plan for the Philippines?

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