2 Aug 2011

CNMI Medicare patients can get treated in Philippines

7:34 am on 2 August 2011

Residents in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas will no longer have to travel all the way to the United States for emergency and non-emergency inpatient services covered by Medicare.

This was confirmed by the U.S. Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Dr Donald Berwick.

Medicare is a U.S. social insurance program that provides health insurance to people who are at least 65 years-old and those younger but with permanent disability.

Dr Berwick says those who qualify can go to the Philippines if, among other things, the hospital is closer to the patient's home, than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat the patient's condition.

Our correspondent, Mark Rabago, says travel to the Philippines will be an attractive alternative for Medicare patients who have until now gone to Hawaii or the U.S. mainland for care, which is both expensive and a physical hardship for seniors.