Jessica Lange once said: “The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.”
Filipino mothers, in general, want nothing but the best for their children. This ideal can be challenging to many impoverished families. But despite the waves of poverty, a great number of mothers sacrificed their lives back home just so that they can be able to support the needs of their family.
Several years down the road, these said Filipina mothers changed the lives of their family. Some even migrated and became residents of the foreign land.
For instance, you became a resident of Australia and an added blessing is that you are bearing another child. Is it better to give birth in Australia or in the Philippines? Weigh your options by comparing the maternal benefits of both countries.
Let us start with Australia first. Australian families as well as the residents in Australia are able to access financial and healthcare perks including Medicare, parental leave pay, child care payments, and newborn payments.
Medicare is basically the counterpart of our PhilHealth. It provides access to healthcare services for all Australian residents and some visitors. The government and Medicare’s pregnancy benefits include:
1. Subsidised or free treatment by healthcare professionals (e.g., doctors or specialists) and participating allied professionals (e.g., dentists or optometrists) are available.
2. Free treatment and accommodation for public Medicare patients in a public hospital while, a part payment is carried for services and procedures for private Medicare patients in a private hospital.
3. Subject to eligibility, you can avail the Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement to increase your funds when you have a baby. You can further ease your load by adding the Child Care Benefit to help cover the cost of child care. Again, this is subject to the eligibility clause of Medicare.
4. If there is a need to purchase more medicines, you can avail the The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme that provides lower costing medicines to Australian residents.
5. For working parents, you can avail the Parental Leave Pay. It is a payment for up to 18 weeks to help eligible parents to take care of their newborn or recently adopted child while taking time off work.
Now let us go to the Philippines’ healthcare system. If you are planning to give birth in our motherland, you have nothing to worry about as long as you are a member of PhilHealth. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Filipinos who are also citizens of other countries can avail the “Overseas Filipino” membership.
Overseas Filipino members can enjoy the benefits of every other member as long as the date of availment falls within the membership validity period. To make your contributions to PhilHealth and update your data while you are abroad, you can ask the help of a family member or an authorized representative.
As an Overseas Filipino member, you are entitled to these pregnancy benefits:
1. As Overseas Filipino members, you can claim benefits for hospital confinements and outpatient surgeries in the Philippines.
2. You can avail the Maternity Care Package worth Php 8,000 in non-hospital facilities (e.g., lying-in clinics, midwife-managed clinics or birthing homes) and Level 1 hospitals.
3. A cost benefit of Php 6,500 can be availed for Normal Spontaneous Delivery in accredited Levels 2-4 hospitals. The coverage for Caesarian Section Delivery in said facilities and performed by accredited health professionals is Php 19,000.
4. Upon giving birth, your baby is assured of the Newborn Care Package worth Php 1,750 (for accredited hospitals and lying-in clinics). This package shall include physical examination, eye prophylaxis, BCG vaccination, Vitamin K administration, newborn screening tests, first dose of Hepatitis B immunization, and breastfeeding advice.
5. If you were confined abroad before your flight back home, you can claim reimbursements provided that you submit the required documents within 180 days upon discharge.
Aside from the PhilHealth’s maternal benefits, you are protected by the Magna Carta of Women Act. Under this act, you have the right to access maternal care services, information about breastfeeding and effective family planning methods, and information about the management of pregnancy-related complications.
While you are examining the maternal benefits that each country offers, consider not only the well-being of your child but also your own. Keep in mind that the health of the baby depends heavily on the early stages of pregnancy.