Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Health Insurance for expats . If you live outside the U.S., are you required to meet the mandatory health insurance coverage in the recently passed Senate health reform bill? If you reside outside of the U.S., probably not , but your “tax home” must be in a foreign country and you must be outside the U.S. for a minimum …

A promising development for expats seeking Medicare coverage overseas. Medicare does not pay for care outside of the United States.  This is a hardship for retirees living overseas who otherwise qualify for Medicare services.  This is understandable given the record of fraud and corruption by overseas providers (plenty of the same in the U.S.A) in the Philippines and elsewhere in connection with the Tricare military benefits program.  Offering Medicare payments on behalf of hundreds of thousands of overseas retirees to thousands of foreign medical providers could be a nightmare. However, Medicare offers the “Medicare Advantage Program” as an alternative to traditional Medicare.  The Advantage programs provide medical services through private insurance companies, usually HMOs.  These plans receive payments from the Federal government to provide Medicare services to Advantage program enrollees. The Medicare Advantage providers are allowed to provide services beyond those allowed under traditional Medicare.  For example, most Advantage programs offer dental and vision services.  It appears that the Advantage programs are also free (to an unknown extent) to provide services overseas.  Here’s what the Medicare brochure says: “If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) or …

USS Panay underway off Woosung, China on August 30, 1928 The United States Navy named several war ships after Philippine islands.  These included The USS Pampanga, USS Luzon, USS Mindanao, USS Calamianes and the USS Panay.  Some of these were Spanish patrol boats captured in the Philippines.  Others, including the USS Panay (PR-5)  were built in China for river patrol duty. The first Panay was originally a Spanish gunboat in the Philippines, purchased in 1899 after the American occupation, and in various service until 1914, and sold in 1920. Among those who served upon her were future WWII admirals Chester Nimitz and John S. McCain, grandfather of the 2008 US presidential candidate, John McCain. The second Panay (PR-5) was a river gunboat launched in 1927, and serving on the Yangtze in China until being sunk by the Japanese in the 1937 Panay incident.  See http://www.hmsfalcon.com/Panay/Panay.htm for photos and videos of this …

WW II Panay Landing Memorial, Parara, Tigbauan, Iloilo (2008 before renovation) The Panay Landing Memorial marks spot where American troops landed on March 18, 1945 on the beaches of Parara, Tigbauan to begin the liberation of Panay Island. The Japanese garrison on Panay was only 2000 to 2350 soldiers. American soldiers came ashore to be greeted by Philippine guerrillas “stiff in starched khaki and resplendent in ornaments.” By the time American troops landed, the well-organized resistance fighters were in control

Chinese heritage of Iloilo City and the Philippines. Anyone interested in this subject should rush to obtain a copy of Edgar Wickberg’s most enjoyable “The Chinese in Philippine Life 1850-1898″. This is the classic, a highly readable, well foot-noted standard work originally published by Yale University Press, which fortunately has been reprinted by the Ateneo de Manila Press . If you live in the Philippines they’ll ship it to you. You may also buy it from Amazon using this link Chinese in Philippine Life, 1850-1898 Chinese settlement in the Philippines almost always followed Spanish settlements. In the vicinity of their settlements, the Spanish provided the Chinese with commercial opportunities and some level of security of…

The United States Embassy in Manila maintains a list of attorneys as a service to United States citizens.  It is primarily intended for the assistance of US citizens who are arrested in the Philippines.  The law firm for Iloilo is: Treñas, Treñas & Rubias Law Offices Address: 2/F Golden Commercial Center Iznart Street, Iloilo City Telephone: (63-33) 337-3021 or 337-9964 or 335-1055 Fax number: (63-33) 335-1075 General practice, civil, commercial, corporate, labor, collection, trade disputes, criminal cases, estates. Notaries Public. The Embassy also has an excellent essay on what to do if arrested in the Philippines at http://manila.usembassy.gov/wwwharst.html

For the foreigner with children considering relocation to the Philippines, a key consideration is finding good schools for them.  Often this means living in Manila or Cebu City where there are well-regarded international schools. That’s fine for the corporate employee whose employer will foot the $5,000 to $10,000 tuition and who has to live in the cities for their work. Cebu International School, Cebu City The international schools essentially create enclaves; secure, air-conditioned, English speaking cocoons of first world standards and values.  Fellow students are a mix of the children of foreign businessmen, diplomats, NGO directors and the indulged offspring of the Filipino elite.  Soccer fields often replace basketball courts.  The students are being prepared for admission to universities in Europe, the United States and Japan and readmission to life in the first world. The main point of international schools is to provide an education based on an American [or British or Australian] curriculum. This approach tends …

DHL AND WIDE WORLD EXPRESS CORPORATION. FEDEX AND AIR 21 . We’ve used both of the big international shipping firms; DHL and FedEx. We recommend FedEx. FEDEX AND AIR21 . There’s FedEx office on the main floor of the Gaisano City mall in La Paz, Iloilo City,  across the river from the Atrium.  The office is at the end of the mall away from the river. There are also FedEx offices at the Mary Mart Shopping Center and another on Rizal in Lapuz, also in Iloilo City.  We used the FedEx Gaisano office to ship our absentee ballots to the USA.  We receive several FedEx shipments per year at our Tigbauan, Iloilo residence.  The service has been outstanding.    We have also had excellent service from the domestic Air21 service.   Phone (033) 509-0810 / 083 320-8267 The …

We have had very good luck with Attorney Jeanette Ong, Casa Plaza Building (a former hotel …