A Reuters published article by Karen Lema and Rosemarie Francisco entitled Philippines struggles to keep typhoon aid, donations graft-free hit the newswires just a few hours ago. It will be published in hundreds if not thousands of newspapers and internet pages worldwide before the day is out.
Here is what they quote from International SOS (ISOS) in the Philippines;
“Tricare, a health care program providing insurance to U.S. military personnel and retirees worldwide, had received claims for damaged homes from two million people from the typhoon-devastated city of Tacloban when the population, before the storm struck, was only 220,000, said Andrea Colley-Lopez, a program manager at International SOS Assistance Inc which provides support for groups including Tricare.”
“The Philippines is always going to be the bane of our existence,” she said, adding medical service providers had also submitted fraudulent claims for damaged hospitals, complicating insurance groups’ responses to legitimate typhoon victims.”
I’ve never seen such a blatant lie published in my life. First, if ISOS had a clue they would know that the TRICARE program they administer in the Philippines does not provide home insurance. Secondly consider the statement from Ms. Colley-Lopez about receiving two million claims for homes damaged by the typhoon. As of 22 Nov 13, 15 days have passed since the typhoon struck the Philippines. For these 15 days Tacloban has been without power or normal access to communication via the internet or cell phones. Yet, if we can believe ISOS in this outright lie, their TRICARE help desk and email address have been inundated with an average of 133,333 fraudulent claims each and every day for 15 days straight. And this when there are no normal communication systems available in Tacloban for the survivors to use to make these calls or send emails. Secondly we seriously doubt their email system and local call system, that routes all calls to Singapore, could handle even 10% of the 133,333 calls and emails ISOS states they received daily. Also the Defense Health Agency (DHA) continues to insist that the total TRICARE eligible population in the Philippines is around 11,000. Even if every man, woman and child among this group tried to file a fraudulent claim for home damage to a medical health plan the most claims they would have received is 11,000 which wouldn’t even account for 10% of a single days calls. Is DHA that far off and there really are two million TRICARE beneficiaries living in the Philippines.
Ms. Colley-Lopez we would like you to know that ISOS has been the “bane of our existence” in the Philippines as well and it is always nice to see how you feel about TRICARE beneficiaries; we always suspected as much. We feel the same way because we see ISOS as the primary reason we have almost no access to care under the TRICARE program in the Philippines.
We have seen some whoppers told by Mr. Zimmerman and Mr. Frewen in the past. But Zimmerman and Frewen as well as their bosses should be ashamed of themselves for allowing some junior employee to pass such a ridicules story to the press. Further Reuters and their reporters should also be ashamed of themselves for publishing such a mockery of the truth. A competent reporter would have seen the obvious errors in this claim by ISOS and attempted to confirm it rather than publish such trash.
Shame on all of you for trying to drag the good name of U.S. military retirees living in the Philippine through the mud; this is a new low, even for ISOS. And a good indicator of how they manage all of their business interests in the Philippines.