PhilHealth may hike rates when inflation gets to a ‘comfortable level’ – Zubiri
MANILA, Philippines — The premium rate hikes of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) may be imposed after the country’s inflation declines at a “more comfortable level.”
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said this on Tuesday as he commended President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s order for PhilHealth to suspend the premium rate hike this year.
READ: Marcos Jr. orders PhilHealth to suspend rate hike in 2023
“It shows that the President knows and acts on the needs of our countrymen by bringing down the daily cost of expenses that everyone is burdened with, especially during this time of high inflation affecting everything from food to fuel,” Zubiri told reporters in a message.
“The premium rate hikes may be established after we have brought down our inflation rate at a more comfortable level in the near future,” he continued.
The country’s inflation jumped to a 14-year high of 8 percent in November last year.
READ: Philippine inflation leaps to 14-year high in November
Marcos’ move, said Zubiri, would ease the public’s burdens in these “difficult times” coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the rate hike suspension, Zubiri said that workers will have a “larger take-home pay.”
Senators Christopher Go and JV Ejercito, in separate statements, likewise lauded Marcos’ move.
Go said, “Given the situation we are still in now where we are still gradually recovering our economy from this global health crisis, such suspension will significantly unburden our people.”
“I see no reason why this will adversely affect the various benefits and services to be provided by PhilHealth to its members,” he added.
Go, chair of the Senate committee on health, also noted that they have pushed for allocation of the PhilHealth subsidy amounting to P79 billion in the 2023 national budget on top of the P21.17 billion PhilHealth benefit package improvements.
Ejercito, for his part, said the government needs to adapt to current situations.
“Being the principal sponsor of the UHC (Universal Health Care law), we need to be sensitive also to the current circumstances and we need to adapt to the situation as we are still recovering from the pandemic,” Ejercito said.
“The intention of UHC is to improve the quality of lives of the Filipino people by giving access to good quality healthcare, and not to be a burden,” he continued.
Marcos’ order deferred the scheduled hike in the PhilHealth premium rate from 4 percent to 4.5 percent and the income ceiling from P80,000 to P90,000 this year.
READ: PhilHealth justifies 4.5% hike in premium
A 4-percent premium rate means that a P400 monthly premium will be collected from individuals with a salary of P10,000 and below.
For those with a monthly earning of P10,000.01 to P79,999.99, the contribution will range from P400 to P3,200.
A flat rate of P3,200 will be collected from contributors with a monthly salary of P80,000 and above.
The President noted that the pandemic has resulted in several socioeconomic challenges for Filipinos, hence, making such an order.
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