Benefits and privileges for our senior citizens

Published by rudy Date posted on April 26, 2010

Dear PAO,

My father is turning sixty years old next month. Presently, he is very weak due to his illness. He informed us that he wants to avail of the health benefits given to senior citizens once he reaches sixty years old but we do not know what the benefits are. We are hoping you can give us an idea. This will surely help our father as well as our family. Thank you. Makoy

Dear Makoy,
Our government recognizes the important role and the many contributions of our senior citizens. This considered and pursuant to the provisions of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines on social justice, Republic Act No. 9994, or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 was signed and enacted into law.

Once your father reaches the age of sixty years old, he may avail of all the benefits afforded by said law. Insofar as health benefits are concerned, he may avail of the 20% discount and exemption from the value -added tax (VAT), if applicable, on the sale of the following goods and services from all establishments:

(1) medicines, including the purchase of influenza and pnuemococcal vaccines, and such other essential medical supplies, accessories and equipment to be determined by the Department of Health (DOH); (2) professional fees of attending physician/s in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics and home health care services; (3) professional fees of licensed health professionals providing home health care services as endorsed by private hospitals or employed through home health care employment agencies; (4) medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics, and home health care services, in accordance with the rules and regulations to be issued by the Department of Health, in coordination with the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth). (Section 4 [a], id) Additionally, he may avail of the free medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees such as, but not limited to, x-rays, computerized tomography scans and blood tests, in all government facilities, subject to the guidelines to be issued by the Health department in coordination with the PhilHealth. (Section 4 [e], id) Furthermore, all indigent senior citizens must be covered by the national health insurance program of PhilHealth. It shall be the duty of the local government unit where he resides to allocate the necessary funds to ensure his enrollment thereto. (Section 5 [h], id)

However, in order for your father or his authorized representative to avail of said benefits, he or his representative must submit proof that he is entitled thereto. It may be any of the following: (1) identification card issued by the Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) of the place where the senior citizen resides: Provided, That the identification card issued by the particular OSCA shall be honored nationwide; (2) passport of the senior citizen concerned; or (3) other documents which may establish that the person claiming is a citizen of the Republic and is at least 60 years of age as further provided in the implementing rules and regulations. (id)

All establishments, hospitals and private institutions must grant the senior citizen concerned the privileges he is entitled to, otherwise said establishment may be penalized accordingly.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or via text message (key in: Times dearpao <YOUR QUESTIONS> and send to 2299). –PERSIDA ACOSTA, Manila Times

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