By Mark Louis F. Ferrolino, Special Features Writer
As a health maintenance organization (HMO) founded and run by doctors, MediCard Philippines, Inc. prides itself with a unique concept of service-oriented health care that is difficult to be matched by other organizations. Since its inception in 1987, the company has remained committed to its promise of providing Filipinos accessible and quality health care, giving more attention to services.
“MediCard is founded and run by doctors. So we have the doctors’ perspective, we have the business perspective, and we have the patients’ perspective,” Dr. Nicanor S. Montoya, president of MediCard, told BusinessWorld in an interview when asked what makes MediCard different from other industry players.
Over the past years, MediCard has performed well from recording strong financial strength, up to expanding its network of members, partnered hospital and clinics, and accredited doctors, specialists and dentists nationwide.
Dr. Montoya shared that MediCard currently enjoys a healthy financial record, which the organization plans to take advantage of in making health care more accessible and affordable.
“What I want to emphasize is the stability that we have. By getting your HMO benefits from us, you can be assured that we will deliver because providers are happy partnering with us, doctors are happy working with us,” Dr. Montoya said.
In an effort to bring affordable and quality holistic medical insurance to Filipinos, MediCard continues to introduce new products that allow individuals and families to take charge of their health without taking a heavy toll on their budget.
The MediCard Health Check Card, for instance, provides members with one-year coverage of unlimited consultations with the organization’s primary care physicians for only P500. Cardholders can also avail themselves of the annual physical examination and get 20% discount on all laboratory and diagnostic procedures that can be availed at the MediCard free-standing clinic where the card was purchased.
The Healthplus Card, on the other hand, has similar benefits to Health Check Card but it can be used in all MediCard free-standing clinics. This card can be availed at P1,100, which is also valid for one year.
For those who want a specialized health care maintenance service that covers emergency, preventive and outpatient care, they can avail of the RxER for P1,998.
RxER cardholders are entitled to emergency coverage for P20,000 in MediCard-accredited hospitals but is limited to trauma cases, animal bites, and accidental chemical food poisoning.
Other benefits include unlimited consultations with primary care physicians and some specialists; a flat rate of P350 for consultations with other specialists; and 30% discount on all laboratory and diagnostic tests, surgeries, and dental procedures done at MediCard free-standing clinics. Dental consultations at MediCard free-standing clinics are also covered including a one-time prophylaxis.
Meanwhile, to boost its efforts in attending to the health care needs of its members, and even non-members, MediCard is continuously growing its list of free-standing clinics in key cities.
MediCard’s free-standing clinics are equipped to provide laboratory tests, diagnostic procedures, annual physical examination, executive checkup, pre-employment exam and other medical evaluation, as well as first aid treatment in case of emergencies. These clinics are also accredited to perform minor operations by accredited surgeons of MediCard.
The company recently opened its 15th free-standing clinic in the country located at One Uptown Residences in Uptown Bonifacio, Taguig City. Dr. Montoya said that the firm plans to open one more clinic this year and at least one every year for the coming years.
Aside from its free-standing clinics, MediCard aims to transform the standard in health care service by investing heavily in digital innovations.
MediCard was one of the firsts to introduce telemedicine — or the use of telecommunication technology to provide patients clinical health care at a distance — in the country called My Pocket Doctor. This telemedicine application by MediAxes allows MediCard members to easily get in touch with doctors and get consultations anytime and anywhere.
According to Dr. Montoya, My Pocket Doctor makes medical consultations handy with less effort, time and cost, giving patients the opportunity to easily talk to medical experts at the comfort of their offices or homes even in the middle of the night.
Designed carefully to fit everyone’s needs, patients can access My Pocket Doctor using any phone or computer. Once the nurse schedule the consultation, a doctor will call the patient for a checkup and give prescriptions or instructions. For cases that need visual assessment, video call via Webcam can also be done during medical consultations.
“We’re just doing things better. We’re trying to find ways to be more efficient, and to be more responsive to what the patients’ needs are,” Dr. Montoya said.
In the years to come, Dr. Montoya said that the organization will continue to invest in technology and in putting up more clinics to make health care more accessible to more Filipinos.