Romualdez hails PhilHealth's expanded breast cancer coverage

Romualdez hails PhilHealth’s expanded coverage for breast cancer

By: - Reporter / @FArgosinoINQ
/ 02:01 PM March 03, 2024

File photo shows aPhilHealth customer assistance center at the Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City. (INQUIRER PHOTO/LYN RILLON)

MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez has commended the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.’s (PhilHealth) move to increase the benefit package for breast cancer patients to over P1 million, as he reiterated the need for other benefit packages and services’ expansion to include early detection of the disease. 

Approved by the PhilHealth board in February, the coverage increase — from P100,000 to P1.4 million — will take effect this month in line with the country’s observance of National Women’s Month. 


“We applaud PhilHealth for its substantial increase in support for breast cancer patients, marking a significant stride towards advancing healthcare,” Romualdez said in a statement on Sunday. 


“Moreover, expanding other benefits and services, particularly in early cancer detection for timely interventions, is essential to enhance accessibility to cancer care ultimately and for addressing other diseases,” he added.

Citing medical professionals, Romualdez said early detection is crucial in improving cancer survival rates, as he urged Philhealth “to expand its benefit package and services further to include comprehensive cancer screening programs.”

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the Philippines, with a rising incidence rate in recent years.

Based on the World Health Organization’s data, one in every 100 Filipino women is diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. 

It has the third-highest mortality rate in the same year at 17.7 percent after lung cancer (18.4 percent) and liver cancer (10.7 percent).

In line with this, the lawmaker highlighted the need “for comprehensive support, including financial assistance and quality healthcare services,” which also caters to their emotional well-being in fighting or preventing the disease. 


Romualdez pointed out that PhilHealth must also function like a  health maintenance organization (HMO).

“With substantial annual allocations from Congress and regular contributions from private employees, there is no excuse for PhilHealth to scrimp on coverage. The effectiveness of the Universal Health Care system depends on our ability to provide for our citizens, ensuring they receive the medical attention and preventive care they deserve,” he said. 

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PhilHealth president and CEO Emmanuel Ledesma Jr. recently revealed that aside from augmenting cancer patients’ benefits, the state health insurer also improved other patient benefit packages — high-risk pneumonia coverage climbed from P32,000 to P90,100; acute stroke ischemia from P28,000 to P76,000; and acute stroke hemorrhagic from P30,000 to P80,000. 

TAGS: Martin Romualdez, Philhealth

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