PhilHealth will still last only until 2027 even if Pagcor, PCSO give funding – exec
MANILA, Philippines — Even with funding from the two government agencies, the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.’s (PhilHealth) actuarial life wouldn’t extend beyond 2027.
PhilHealth officer-in-charge Eli Dino Santos issued the warning on Monday before the House committee on appropriations hearing on the proposed 2023 budget of the Department of Health (DOH).
According to Santos, the continued existence of PhilHealth beyond 2027 would require funding subsidies from other contributors other than the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Santos told committee vice chairperson and Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo and Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Ray Florence Reyes that “if PhilHealth receives the government subsidy for indirect contributors as well as the Pagcor and PCSO, we estimate that we will survive beyond 2027.”
“We have another scenario, Madam chairperson, if we only receive Pagcor and PCSO pork for 2023, per DBM-recommended (Department of Budget and Management) NEP (National Expenditure Program), the subsequent years, we will have until 2027, Madam chairperson.”
Reyes then asked Santos what PhilHealth could do to ensure that its fund life would last longer. The PhilHealth official said income from sin taxes would bolster the state insurer’s budget.
However, lawmakers have observed that sin taxes are not that high in recent years due to the pandemic since COVID-19 had forced people to stay-at-home — providing little to no access to items subjected to sin taxes like cigarettes and liquor.
“Madam Chairperson, if we receive all the subsidy from the government and we implement the programs of PhilHealth, yes, we will last beyond the year 2027,” Santos argued.
“Again, on the side of PhilHealth, we really need the support of the national government in providing for the subsidy. We really need the support as provided under the Universal Healthcare Law, coming from the PCSO, and the Pagcor as well as the sin tax […] if we receive all this support, then PhilHealth will definitely last beyond 2027,” he added.
PhilHealth had revealed before that its fund life would only last until 2027. However, in September 2021, PhilHealth’s acting senior vice president Nerissa Santiago said that PhilHealth would just last until 2027 if members would not pay higher premiums.
PhilHealth’s net loss for 2021 was expected to reach around P57 billion.
PhilHealth’s member contributions were raised in June – retroactive from January 2022. Despite this, PhilHealth’s fund life has not increased.
It was also reported that Pagcor and PCSO have yet to remit their contributions for PhilHealth as of August. However, during the Senate committee on health hearing, PhilHealth said it expects to collect P188.66 billion from both Pagcor and PCSO.
It was also revealed that government subsidy to PhilHealth was at a record-high of P80.9 billion in 2021. — With reports from Catherine Dabu, trainee
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