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Bangladesh Government Representatives Learn from PHL Social Health Insurance Program May 2, 2014

TEN technical officers from the People’s Republic of Bangladesh recently visited the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to learn about the Philippine experience in social health insurance.

The delegation was composed of representatives from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Finance, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics Health Unit, and Tangail district.

Discussions during the five-day study visit, which was organized by PhilHealth’s Social Health Insurance Academy (SHIA), focused on the basic business processes such as membership management, premium collection, benefits development, health care provider engagement and payment. The delegates also learned about SHI fund management, developing the actuarial foundations of SHI, knowledge management, the importance of enterprise architecture and information technology management, public-private partnership initiatives, and advocacy and communications.

A field observation tour to PhilHealth’s Local Health Insurance Office in Bataan also gave the delegates a first-hand look at how the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) is being implemented at the ground level. Visits to Bataan St. Joseph Hospital and Bataan General Hospital also enabled the delegates to take a closer look at the working relationship between key players in the Philippine health care industry and the role of SHI in ensuring financial risk protection for the Philippine population.

The study visit was requested by the Bangladesh government in light of their move towards developing their own social health insurance program. Health care financing trends in Bangladesh show that more than two-thirds of total expenditure on health is privately financed through out-of-pocket while the rest is financed by the government through tax revenues, outlays and international development assistance. There are practically no risk-pooling systems and community financing mechanisms except for some non-government organizations that have started their own health insurance components within their micro-credit programmes.*

At the end of the study visit, the delegates took note of their more urgent concerns to jumpstart efforts towards developing their own social health insurance program. Among their priorities is to generate commitment from policymakers to ensure the enactment of a Universal Health Care Act that will serve as the legal framework for their various initiatives. They also plan to propose the establishment of an autonomous organization that will handle SHI implementation, and proceed with identifying the different target groups for priority coverage, doing a service delivery assessment mapping, defining and developing benefit packages and determining the appropriate premium contribution rates.

Melinda C. Mercado, PhilHealth’s Chief Management Executive provided additional insights on the delegates’ Action Plan. She shared that when the law establishing the NHIP was being crafted, there was close collaboration with the Department of Health and the Senate. She said that “in your proposed law, you can choose if you want to go that broad based on SHI principles,” and recommended that “a lot of consultations with stakeholders” be undertaken when crafting the law.

A group of high-ranking officials from the different Ministries of the Government of Bangladesh is expected to similarly take the SHI Course soon. (END)


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Bangladesh Government Representatives Learn from PHL Social Health Insurance Program