Ejercito appeals again for suspension of PhilHealth premium hike

Ejercito appeals again for suspension of PhilHealth premium hike

/ 03:05 PM March 01, 2024
PhilHealth employees at work in Quezon City.
PhilHealth employees at work in Quezon City.  (File photo by GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. JV Ejercito is again appealing for the temporary suspension of the hike in premium contributions to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) until the proposed amendments to the Universal Healthcare (UHC) law can be enacted.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Ejercito said that the hike should be delayed because there would be a need to amend the UHC law first, as the current rates were based on pre-pandemic figures.

“The situation has since changed,” he said.


“I’m hoping that the amendment to the UHC will be passed soon. While we wait for its passage, which will adjust the premium contributions, perhaps we can temporarily suspend them.”


READ: PhilHealth insists premium contributions necessary

If the hike were suspended, Ejercito proposed setting the premium contribution rates to the initial 3.5 to 4 percent — “to let everyone breathe.”

In July 2022, Ejercito filed Senate Bill No. 160, pushing to introduce reforms and amendments to the current process of collecting PhilHealth premium contributions.

The bill seeks to revise the PhilHealth premium rate schedule and base the contributions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and self-employed individuals on the lowest premium rate.

It also aims to release the obligation of distressed and repatriated OFWs to settle their unpaid contributions on coming home and remove the requirement of paying PhilHealth contributions to get Overseas Employment Certificates.

According to Ejercito, this is why he supports the similar PhilHealth premiums hike suspension proposal by Health Secretary Ted Herbosa in January.


“I support the proposal of [DOH] Secretary Ted Herbosa to suspend the increase in PhilHealth contributions. This is in line with a pending bill that I filed, focusing on amendments to the UHC to adjust premium rates, considering our ongoing recovery from the pandemic,” he said.

Ejercito added that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. assured him that as long as “expenses are justified and required packages are in place,” the appeal could be considered.

He also noted that PhilHealth had confirmed that the proposed changes would not “negatively affect the benefits and packages.”

“For instance, under the UHC, benefits for kidney transplants amount to P600,000, while open-heart surgery is covered up to P500,000. Treatments for breast cancer range from P100,000 to P150,000, and severe pneumonia treatment is covered up to P300,000,” Ejercito said.

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“So, PhilHealth really did level up, and it can support this even if the premium hike gets temporarily suspended.”

TAGS: JV Ejercito, PhilHealth premium hike, Philippine Health Insurance Corp.

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