Romualdez bats for bigger PhilHealth coverage in private hospitals
MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez is urging the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to consider bearing more of the costs of hospitalization for patients admitted to private hospitals.
In a statement on Sunday, Romualdez said that he would meet with PhilHealth and Department of Health (DOH) officials to discuss ways to increase the subsidies provided for private hospital admissions among the insurance provider’s beneficiaries.
“Many are asking us if PhilHealth can increase coverage for billing and doctors’ fees when a private room or a pay ward is chosen,” he said in Filipino.
According to him, patients often complain about PhilHealth’s meager coverage of fees for private hospitals — only 15 to 20 percent of hospital bills in private and medical institutions and only 30 percent for professional or doctors’ fees.
“Not all patients admitted to the hospital are in the free or charity ward. Charity beds tend to fill up quickly,” Romualdez said, explaining why some patients were forced to go to private hospitals despite not having the means to pay.
“People are requesting that PhilHealth covers half of their bill when admitted to a private facility so that members only have to pay half.”
He added that he would coordinate with concerned officials to make sure that PhilHealth’s increased coverage in private hospital admissions would no longer require legislation as that would take more time.
In January, PhilHealth President Emmanuel Ledesma Jr. announced that its members’ premium contribution would increase from 4 percent to 5 percent this year.
Health Secretary Ted Herbosa appealed to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to suspend the implementation of the contribution hike, but the president has not issued his decision on the matter.
Meanwhile, PhilHealth has said that it would be implementing a 30 percent increase in some of its benefit packages starting February 14 to adjust for inflation.