THE Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is currently holding a series of public consultations on the proposed premium adjustment to ensure the sustainability and viability of the National Health Insurance Fund.
Recently, a dialogue with different labor organizations was held at PhilHealth’s Head Office in Pasig City. This is the 4th consultation done by the Member Management Group (MMG) with stakeholders.
Among those who attended the consultations were representatives from Associated Labor Unions (ALU), Federation of Free Workers, Federation of Unions of Rizal, Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), Philippine Government of Employees Association (PGEA), DepEd National Employees Union, and Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).
The consultation was set off by PhilHealth Officer-in-charge - Vice President for Member Management Group, Dr. Narisa Portia J. Sugay, who acknowledged the presence of all the attendees. Sugay thoroughly discussed PhilHealth’s mandate to provide social health insurance coverage for all Filipino citizens. She also discussed PhilHealth’s plans such as extending outpatient benefit packages to other member-categories and providing for a fixed co-payment for those who want to avail themselves of a higher level of care. She emphasized that over the years, PhilHealth has expanded its benefit packages without any premium increase.
Yolanda de Leon of the Office of the Actuary presented the revised contribution scheme which was approved by the PhilHealth Board to take effect in 2018. PhilHealth will be implementing a 0.25 percent increase in the Formal Sector from its current 2.5 percent. The new monthly premium contributions shall be at the rate of 2.75 percent computed straight based on the monthly basic salary to be shouldered equally by the employees and their employer. Similar adjustments shall also be applied to other member sectors.
De Leon cited that actuarial evaluation is being conducted yearly to determine the life of the national health insurance fund. Based on their past and latest studies, premium increase is needed to sustain the growing health care financing needs of more than 90 percent of the population and to cover the remaining un-enrolled ten (10) percent.
The presented proposed premium adjustment solicited different reactions from the representatives of labor organizations.
“Kahit may konting dagdag sa premium contribution basta lawakan ang serbisyo, walang problema sa amin yan. Sa ibang bansa nga mataas ang tax pero maganda ang health services. Yan ang aming premise eh. Naliliitan pa nga kami sa proposed increase nyo. Saludo kami sa plano nyong yan,” said Atty. Domingo Alidon, President of DepEd National Employees Union and PSLINK Internal Auditor during the plenary session. He also suggested that PhilHealth should come up with a more concrete and long-term plan for the sustainability of the National Health Insurance Fund.
Sharing her view on the proposed premium increase, Nery Buban of PSLINK said that “bilang isang ordinaryong empleyado, maganda ang pananaw ko sa balak na premium increase ng PhilHealth, maliit na bagay ang karagdagang 0.25 percent lalo na kung sa ikagaganda naman ng mga programa at serbisyo.” Being a Person with Disability (PWD), she also requested to extend more benefit packages for them to avail of.
“Hindi naman tumataas ang sweldo namin, sana huwag muna kayo magtaas ng contribution”, appealed Jing Calubaquib of ALU.
PGEA representative, Luz Lansangan also shared that the increase will cost her much. “Mahirap para sa ‘kin ‘yan kasi solo parent lang ako. Dagdag na pasanin. Sana may benefit din kayo para sa mga kagaya ko.”
Nicandro Tolentino of Federation of Free Workers proposed for a higher employer share rather than splitting the premium contribution equally between the employee and employer. (END) (Dahlia D. Benedicto)/p>
(Reference: Dr. Israel Francis A. Pargas, Head Executive Assistant and Concurrent OIC-Vice President for Corporate Affairs Group, Cel No. 0917-8089399)