MANILA, Philippines?The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) will increase premium contributions for new members from P300 to P600 quarterly starting October 1, a circular from the PhilHealth president shows.
The circular, the contents of which were announced to media on Tuesday, was already signed by PhilHealth president Dr. Ray Aquino and is just awaiting publication in major newspapers for it to take effect.
Raymond Acoba, public relations officer of the PhilHealth-National Capital Region office, confirmed the contents of the circular in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer at the end of the Philippine College of Physician?s Health Forum on the launching of ?PhilHealth Sabado? in Quezon City.
?Effective October 1, the contribution will be increased from P300 to P600 for professionals such as doctors and lawyers, and for self-employed members or those who owns a business. This will only apply to new, not current members,? Acoba said.
The increase would cover members earning P25,000 a year based on their Income Tax Returns, said Acoba.
Asked why PhilHealth had to double the premium for members despite its P120-billion non-moving assets, Acoba did not delve into details but only said that the decision was made by PhilHealth officials.
PhilHealth has also prohibited pictures of any politicians appearing on the membership cards to be issued to new members, whether their memberships were sponsored by their local governments or not.
Health Assistant Secretary Gerardo Bayugo said that President Benigno Aquino III wanted his picture removed from the PhilHealth membership cards to be distributed, and this should also apply on local politicians.
Bayugo assured the public that the cards would not be issued indiscriminately considering the proximity of the barangay elections.
PhilHealth Sabado, a nationwide registration day for PhilHealth membership for the informal sector, non-indigents, and those under the Individual Paying Program and the Sponsored Program (SP), will be conducted nationwide from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.. At least 19 registration sites will be put up in Metro Manila alone, three of them in Quezon City.
Acoba said that there are 20.1 million PhilHealth members at present, with an average of five dependents, or 85 percent coverage rate as of February this year.
He said he expected the number to increase to at least 90 percent at the end of the registration program, close to Aquino?s wish for a 100 percent coverage target.
The nationwide registration program is sponsored by the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Interior and Local Governments, non-governmental organizations and professional organizations.
It aims to increase public awareness and knowledge of PhilHealth and the benefits a member can get during hospitalization.
Bayugo said that membership requirements have been simplified requiring only minimal identification document such as a valid identification card.
Bayugo said that on registration day, PhilHealth would issue cards to new and current members who might wish to update their membership records.
Under the sponsored program, the National Household Targeting System (NHTS) list from the DSWD, indigent families will be registered under the PhilHealth?s SP and will be given cards which they can immediately use for one year, with a monthly premium of P100.
He said that families claiming to be indigents could be included under the (LGU or self proclaimed) Premium Payment for Sponsored Program.
The DOH has committed P500 million as local counterpart funds for the enrolment of eligible NHTS listed families.