Bill filed seeking suspension of PhilHealth premium hike
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe has filed a bill seeking to suspend the scheduled increase of 0.5-percent in premium contributions for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) this year.
In a statement on Tuesday regarding Senate Bill No. 1968, Poe said “it’s simply inhumane to apply an increase in contributions for healthcare services when we are right in the middle of a health crisis.”
“Especially since there are many irregularities that PhilHealth hasn’t answered for yet,” she added.
Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Joel Villanueva, Nancy Binay and Sherwin Gatchalian are co-authors of the bill, according to Poe.
“Universal healthcare is the dream for every Filipino. At a time when we need it the most, it’s unsettling to think that there are a few who are benefiting from the misery of many,” Poe said.
“Our goal is still to achieve universal healthcare for every Filipino. We’re just hitting the pause button for now because we can’t justify taking more from our countrymen and women who have experienced salary cuts already,” she added.
Senator Imee Marcos also earlier filed a bill that seeks to suspend the increase in premium rate contributions for the state insurer this year.
The filing of the bills comes after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the postponement of the increase in PhilHealth member contributions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a separate interview, Senator Panfilo Lacson said that the deferment of the increase in monthly premium payments of PhilHealth members should provide the state insurer with the needed time to rid itself of incompetence and corruption.
“It is right to defer the premium hike, at least so that it can review its procedures to get rid of corruption and incompetence. Why punish members with higher premiums for the benefit of the corrupt and the incompetent?” he said in an interview on TeleRadyo.
“Hiking the premium for individual members is extremely ill-advised, especially as we have yet to resolve where the money lost to corruption went,” he also said.
The premium rate of PhilHealth members was supposed to increase to 3.5 percent of monthly basic salary this year, from the previous 3 percent in 2020.
Republic Act No. 11223, or the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act, mandates increases in member premiums by increments of 0.5 percent every year, starting 2021 until it reaches the 5-percent limit in 2025.
EDV / JPV
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