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PhilHealth doubles premiums

By Cynthia Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:13:00 09/29/2010

Filed Under: Health, Insurance

MANILA, Philippines?State-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) will increase premium contributions for new members from P300 to P600 quarterly or a total of P2,400 in one year starting next month.

The increase was contained in a circular signed by the PhilHealth president, Dr. Ray Aquino. The circular 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 circular in an interview with the Inquirer at the end of the Philippine College of Physician?s Health Forum on the launching of ?PhilHealth Sabado? in Quezon City.

?Effective Oct. 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 own a business. This will only apply to new, not current members,? Acoba said.

Covered by the increase are members who are earning P25,000 a year based on their income tax returns, he said.

Asked why PhilHealth had to double the premium for members despite its P120-billion nonmoving assets, Acoba said the decision was made by PhilHealth officials.

Registration on Saturday

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, 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.

There are 20.1 million PhilHealth members with an average of five dependents, or an 85-percent coverage rate (as of February), according to Acoba.

He said he expected the number to increase to at least 90 percent at the end of the registration program, which is close to President Aquino?s target of a 100-percent coverage.

The nationwide registration program is sponsored by the Department of Health (DoH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Interior and Local Government, and nongovernment and professional organizations.

It aims to increase public awareness and knowledge of PhilHealth and the benefits a member can get during hospitalization.

Simplified requirements

Assistant Health Secretary Gerardo Bayugo said membership requirements would be simplified. Only minimal identification documents such as a valid ID card would be needed.

On registration day, PhilHealth will issue cards to new and current members who may wish to update their membership records.

Poor families appearing on the National Household Targeting System (NHTS) list of the DSWD will be registered under the sponsored program. Their premiums will be paid by the national government.

Subsidy

Also qualified under the sponsored programs are those on the list subsidized by local government units. The national government will provide a 50-percent counterpart subsidy for this group.

The DoH has committed P500 million as local counterpart funds for the enrollment of eligible NHTS-listed families.

PhilHealth cards to be issued to indigents are valid for one year only. To continue receiving PhilHealth benefits, they must pay their contributions or reapply for sponsored programs.

Bayugo said that PhilHealth medical and hospitalization benefits could only be availed of as long as the member was in good standing.

He said PhilHealth was updating its database regularly to determine members who are eligible for benefits.

No photo of Aquino

Bayugo said PhilHealth cards would not be issued indiscriminately considering the proximity of the barangay elections.

The state-run health insurance has prohibited pictures of any politician appearing on the membership cards to be issued to new members, whether their memberships were sponsored by their local governments or not.

Bayugo noted that Mr. Aquino had wanted his picture removed from the PhilHealth membership cards to be distributed to poor families.



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