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PhilHealth SHINES at House of Representatives September 10, 2012

FOR the first time, about 303 technical staffmembers of the House of Representatives, including Chiefs-of-staff (CoS) of Congressmen, and members of various committee secretariats, were oriented on the basics of social health insurance and health care financing. The recent special session had no less than Dr. Eduardo P. Banzon, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) as main discussant.

Through the Social Health Insurance Educational Series (SHInES), Banzon provided the congressional staffmembers with the basic framework of the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) and cited various health care financing schemes from other countries to further aid them in crafting relevant legislations pertaining to social health insurance. The activity was also intended to inculcate among the participants better appreciation for the NHIP as they relate to the constituents of their principals. It was organized in coordination with the House Committee on Health.

In his welcome remarks, Rep. Alfredo D. Maranon III (2nd Dist., Negros Occidental), Chairman of the House Committee on Health said that he is grateful to PhilHealth for introducing new and better benefit packages, instituting reforms in provider payment, and pursuing aggressive information campaigns such as the SHInES. He also urged the participants to actively take part in the education initiative. "As contributing members, you are obliged to know more about your benefits" and that the activity was "the right venue to ask and clarify matters with PhilHealth." Maranon also said that "instituting reforms is not easy" and that "it starts with information and education, thus SHInES." He called on everyone to "shine in gladness knowing that we can rely on PhilHealth in times of need."

Reps. Philip A. Pichay (1st Dist., Surigao del Sur) and Jun Omar C. Ebdane (2nd Dist., Zambales) also attended the orientation session.

Among the issues raised by participants during the orientation were concerns pertaining to reimbursement of benefits vis-a-vis the coverage of health maintenance organizations, case rate benefit ceilings, compensability of certain surgical procedures, qualification of early retirees into the Lifetime Member Program after having contributed to the former Medicare and to PhilHealth for over 30 years, and the increase in premium for overseas Filipino worker-members of PhilHealth. Banzon thoroughly answered each of the questions.

The SHInES will be implemented next at the Senate for CoS of the members of the Senate Committee on Health, Senate Secretariats, Presidential Legislative Liaison Officers and Staff and Legislative Liaising. (END)

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