Doctors and nursing staff in public hospitals are highly proficient, however public healthcare in the Philippines faces some limitations. Despite having achieved universal healthcare, the Philippines still struggles with unequal access to medical care. As such, the standard of public healthcare in the Philippines generally varies from excellent in urban centres to poor in rural areas. Public healthcare also faces strain both from treating the large number of Filipinos who rely on public healthcare and from the trend of Filipino medical staff migrating to Western countries. This has resulted in understaffing in some hospitals and patients may experience delays in treatment.
Public healthcare in the Philippines is administered by Philhealth, a government owned corporation. Philhealth subsidises a variety of treatments including inpatient care and non-emergency surgeries, although it does not cover all medical treatments and costs.
Enrolling with Philhealth is mandatory for expats who are employed in the Philippines. Philhealth contributions are derived from employers, employee salaries and the state. Expats can voluntarily enrol with Philhealth if they have residency status.
Private healthcare services are well-established and growing in the Philippines. Although doctors in private hospitals are as good as doctors practising in the public sector, private facilities are much better equipped and treatment is typically faster. Private services are considered to be expensive by locals, but are relatively cheap by most expat standards. The relative affordability of private healthcare can be seen in the increasing popularity of the Philippines as a medical tourism destination.