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PhilHealth Extends Coverage of LGU-Sponsored Members until March 31 January 26, 2012

AT least five (5) million less privileged families, whose health insurance coverage expired last December 31, 2011, can still avail themselves of health care benefits from facilities accredited by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) until March 31, 2012.

This was announced today by PhilHealth President and CEO Dr. Eduardo P. Banzon for the benefit of these families who were identified by and whose coverage under PhilHealth's Sponsored Program (SP), is provided for by LGUs and/or other sponsors for Calendar Year 2011. He, however, emphasized that the extended validity period does not entail any additional cost to the sponsoring LGU.

Banzon said that this development will ensure the continued health insurance coverage of over ten (10) million low-income and marginalized members of society who are enrolled under the SP. He added that these include the 5.2 million poor families identified by the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and whose coverage comes with National Government funding.

To address LGUs' concern over the increase in premium contribution rate starting this year, Banzon emphasized that a new payment scheme will make it easier for LGUs to renew their sponsorship of the indigent families' coverage.

For instance, he said, LGUs who opt to renew their sponsorship for two years until December 31, 2013, and undertake the renewal through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on or before June 30 this year, will be entitled to an additional three-month extension of validity date up to June 30, 2012. Under this arrangement, the LGU will enjoy an effective premium rate for a two-year enrolment of only P1,800.00 per enrolled family.

On the other hand, if the LGUs decide to bring in new or additional enrollees into the SP and commit to provide them with coverage until December 31, 2013, they will be able to enjoy a two-year premium of P2,400.00. "However, the new enrollees should be committed into the SP on or before June 30 this year, for the LGU to enjoy this premium rate," Banzon stressed.

This innovative arrangement for the enrolment and continuing coverage of less privileged families sponsored by the LGUs was arrived at after several consultations with Local Chief Executives (LCEs) in various parts of the country. "I am grateful to the cooperation extended by our LCEs, particularly Governors Paul R. Daza of Northern Samar, Oscar S. Moreno of Misamis Oriental, Victor A. Yap of Tarlac, and Alfredo Maranon of Negros Occidental. This is a concrete manifestation of our common desire to ensure that our fellowmen, especially those who are less privileged, are adequately provided with access to quality health care services," Banzon said.

He also expressed optimism that more LCEs will realize the advantage that this new arrangement will bring them, especially where maintaining the health insurance coverage of their needy constituents is concerned. "We are actually assuring the continued coverage of about 10 million poor and low-income families until December 31, 2013, and this translates into peace of mind, especially for our SP members," Banzon said. (END)

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