Fil-Ams told: It's more fun to retire in the Philippines

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN News North America Bureau

July 31, 2013

NEW YORK – An official from the Philippines and a community advocate are trying to convince Fil-Ams that it’s possible to retire in the Philippines and still take their health benefits there.

Philippine Retirement Authority General Manager Vernie Atienza told ‘kababayans’ why it’s more fun to retire in the Philippines.

“First, because of the cost of living, talagang it stretches the retirement wealth of the retiree, our cost of living is much more competitive than other countries,” Atienza said.

According to International Living’s Global Retirement Index, the Philippines is ranked 15th in the world’s top retirement haven in 2013. Ecuador and Panama were on the top of that list.

Our country may have scored low on climate and special benefits but it got high points in cost of living, integration, health and retirement infrastructure.

Those are good news for some retirees, but they have other major concerns.

“The only question that I really have is that of law and order because we hear all these horror stories about home invasions that even gated communities are not safe,” said Deanna GoBio, a New York resident who is planning to retire in the Philippines.

Atienza responded to GoBIo by saying, “From where I stand, I think it happens in many countries eh, the Philippines is not an exceptional case, except that our press they publish these things.”

Christian Fourcade is a French National married to a Filipina. The couple is planning to retire in the Philippines in the next few months.

“How long will I stay there depends on many factors, political stability, economic stability, you never know,” Fourcade said.

The Philippine Retirement Authority is offering retirement visas to foreign nationals and Filipino-Americans who do not qualify for dual citizenship.

And as Obama’s Affordable Care Act starts to kick in, US medicare portability organizer Eric Lachica cites that Fil-Am retirees may soon be able to take their health benefits to the Philippines.

“So within the three month period, especially our seniors, they have to choose good plans and hopefully plans that will give them international coverage,” Lachica said.

Currently, retirees who need medical services while in the Philppines may pay their medical expenses up front then reimburse these expenses with insurance providers later.

“Hopefully next year, with the insurance companies taking over the accountability in the payment process, our balikbayan patients who are beneficiaries of Medicare would not have to pay up front, they would be covered by their American Insurance Companies at certain hospital that are already partners,” Lachica said.

Such hospitals include Medical City in Ortigas, Makati Medical Center and other internationally accredited hospitals.

More information on medicare portability is available on US Medicare PH

You may contact Don Tagala at

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