Sunday, March 3, 2024

InsureTech firm Etiqa rolls out virtual health card

Insurance provider Etiqa Philippines has launched ER Protect, a yearly renewable individual health insurance card for emergency care and other medical services.

To many uninsured Filipinos, perhaps no other incident drives home the importance of a health card or medical insurance than a sudden, and possibly life-threatening, medical emergency, the company said, adding that the agony starts at the hospital admission section where they are asked to produce evidence of the capability to pay like government IDs or credit cards.

The ordeal continues even after admission, as the costs of hospitalization increase. Hospital room rates alone range from P900 to P3000 per day, depending on the privacy level or hospital status. The patient resorts to borrowing from family, friends, or informal lenders.

“We are well aware of the challenges that many of our countrymen face when it comes to emergency-related medical expenses,” said Glenn Navea, Etiqa Philippines general insurance head.

“ER Protect is designed to give them the services that they need during crises, accidents, or unforeseen health conditions like a stroke.  First, our network of 30,000 doctors and 1,600 accredited hospitals and clinics nationwide can meet them at their point of need.”

“Second, the emergency medical coverage is accessible because it is affordable.  ER Protect, which can be a medical lifesaver as well as a deterrent against financial hardship, can be availed of for as low as P925 one-time fee per year or the price of a food-franchise family dinner,” Navea added.

All these benefits shall be paid on top of the patient’s PhilHealth coverage and/or other insurance policies.

Another advantage to gifting a loved one with medical or emergency protection is that the benefits go beyond Christmas. An annual coverage ensures access to emergency medical services once needed, during the next 12 months. The policyholder also has the confidence and peace of mind that he or she will not contend with skyrocketing hospital bills upon admission.

Affordable medical insurance or emergency protection is not just a shield against the woes of hospitalization — it is also an investment, the company said.

As a virtual health card, ER Protect takes care of a lot of the emergency-related medical services that a patient can expect, regardless of whether the hospital admits the insured or deems that his confinement is not necessary.

ER Protect covers both inpatient and outpatient services. The coverage extends to costs related to doctors’ fees, lab and diagnoses, operating and treatment rooms, and emergency-related surgical services at the rate of P50,000/year.

In cases of admission, it pays for the hospital room, board, and nursing services. In cases where the patient cannot be brought to the ER through the usual means of transport, ambulance service is also covered by the product.

Should the worst happen, it also has a P25,000/year accidental death and dismemberment benefit for the policyholder’s family.

Etiqa Philippines’ use of the latest InsureTech also makes accessibility to emergency services fast, efficient, and unencumbered by the usual paperwork.  Registration, application, and payment for the policy can be done through Etiqa Philippines’ website.

Customers can also use their debit or credit cards to settle their payments through over-the-counter payment facilities or digital mobile wallets like GCash.

Emergency room services can be availed through the Smile 3.0 app, a unified omnichannel that integrates common basic features such as inquiries, profile personalization, and contact details updating with very specific transactional processes.

A patient can just tap into the Smile 3.0 app to avail of his ER Protect virtual card in just a few minutes. He can then connect with the preferred chain of hospitals and medical providers digitally. Once brought to the ER or hospital, all he needs to do is show the virtual card, making admission smooth and fast.

“ER Protect is designed to be customer-friendly, helpful to the patient, and family-friendly,” said Noel Tordesillas, Etiqa Philippines eChannel head. 

“It is inclusive and covers a wide range of demographics, from the 2-year-old toddler to the 70-year-old grandparent. The whole family can be protected, which does make ER Protect an ideal gift for Christmas and other celebrations and holidays.”


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