Medical insurance in the Philippines seems to be taking a more commercial hold in that it has become more available for every Filipino via the government’s HMO called PhilHealth as well as private institutions making their services more affordable. But with all things considered, one of the sectors that we need to give a more customized health benefit experience to might be those in the sports industry.
Injury. Injury is a key concern that is always present in any sport. Although it is more common in contact sports, even non-contact sports makes the human body vulnerable to a multitude of injuries like Achilles tendinitis, shin splits, or runner’s knee among other things. Injury to professional athletes is real and is very common which leads us to believe that they should be afforded occupational insurance.
But this coverage only recently saw better attention from Philippine legislation. In 2013, the Senate Bill 3322 was passed giving retirement, health care and death benefits to athletes in honor of their contributions to the country, specifically if they had won championships in international sports competitions. It’s a good start but even its death & medical insurance coverage is very limited in that local sports stars that never leave the country might never enjoy these benefits.
Take the PBA for example, the league that has been a sports staple that almost ritualistically inculcates every Filipino into the culture so in love with basketball. Only very rarely are players drafted (Team Gilas) into international events and even so, Gilas is only representative of a small fraction of the complete roster of league players.
As far as being able to provide coverage to athletes in their prime, private organizations providing non-specific insurances are afforded to them. Some international special risk providers like Sutton actually provides professional sports insurance for athlete in Europe and North Americas.
Remember how Michael Christian Martinez, winner of 19 international medals for skating, got little to no help from the government in representing the Philippines? It’s high time we put a stop to that. For a culture so deeply in love with sports, I take it it’s time we gave our athletes not only more attention, but more helpful action not just from the sidelines but also through practical and comprehensive bills that provide extensive medical insurance, financial benefits, and talent growth opportunities.
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