Pacquiao seeks 1-year freeze on Philhealth premium rate hike for health workers
Robie de Guzman • May 29, 2020 • 545
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Manny Pacquiao on Friday said he has filed a resolution calling for a one-year suspension of the increase in Philippine Health Insurance (PhilHealth) premium contributions for healthcare workers amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
In Senate Resolution 429, Pacquiao urged the Senate to call for the suspension of the increase in Philhealth premium rate for healthcare professionals for the year 2020 “as a token of gratitude” to their sacrifices amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The senator filed the resolution as Philhealth is poised to implement an increase in premium payments from 2.75% to 3% of its members’ monthly salary.
The increase is provided in the Universal Health Care Act, which provides for the automatic enrolment of all Filipino citizens in the government’s National Health Insurance Program. The law also mandates an annual increase in premium rate until it reaches 5% by 2024.
“The first year of the implementation of the increased rate of premium contributions, coincided with the advent and continuation of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines,” the resolution read.
“This has constrained most, if not all, health care professionals and other health care workers in the country sacrificing and risking their well-being and even their lives, to help cure the afflicted and stem the surge of transmission of the disease caused by the Covid-19 virus,” it added.
Pacquiao also pointed out that the pandemic has resulted in the “disruption of the professional practice of the health care professionals concomitantly leading to the marked decrease in the income of health care professionals and related health care workers, and to some, even to the closure of their clinics.”
“Such a suspension may help these frontliners in a small way, but the recognition and expression of gratitude will go a little farther to support them moving forward,” he said.
The Philippine Medical Association (PMA) earlier called on the government to suspend the premium payment increase for medical workers amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
MANILA, Philippines — The government must not defer the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law, according to Malacañang.
Otherwise, it will constitute a violation of the Constitution, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said.
Roque specifically addressed the matter to the management of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) after issues of anomalies surfaced against the agency.
He said should the agency fails to adhere to its mandate, it would compel President Rodrigo Duterte to for a new leader who will be more capable to implement the law.
“Ang akin pong panawagan sa mga namumuno sa Philhealth. Kung hindi ninyo po mapapatupad ang isang batas na certified as urgent ni President mismo, dahil na ang nais niya magkaroon ng libreng gamot ang lahat ng Pilipino, gaya ng ginawa niya sa Davao, siguro po hahanap na lang ng iba na magpapatupad niyan,” Roque said.
[I call on the leadership of PhilHealth. If you will not implement the Law that the President himself certified as urgent as he intends to provide free medicine to all Filipinos similar to what he did in Davao, perhaps he would opt to find another person who will do get the job done.]
Roque, however, stressed that his statement did not intend to threaten PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales.
For his part, Morales assured that the agency has enough funds to support the claims of all members.
“We started the year with about P130-B reserved (fund). So hindi totoong walang pera ang [It’s not true that PhilHealth is out of fund] but we were asking for P153-B for 2020,” Morales explained.
“Ang natanggap namin is P71-B. So may shortfall iyon pero kaya pa ng reserves namin iyon [We received P71-B, so yes, we have shortfall but our reserves can still back us up]. We’re okay for this year up to about early next year. We’re fine,” he assured.
PhilHealth is constantly coordinating with the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in case an adjustment is needed in the agency’s budget for next year. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has opposed the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s (Philhealth) appeal to postpone the full implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law even amid the slump in collections this year due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Drilon said the UHC law is “critical” in the fight against COVID-19, and delaying its implementation is wrong.
“To halt the implementation of a law that would promote access to affordable care, strengthen our primary health care and make our people healthy to fight the virus is a step in the wrong direction,” he said.
“If COVID-19 taught us one thing, it is that we need to keep people healthy and we have to prepare for the next pandemic. UHC is the key,” he added.
While Drilon recognized the need to address Philihealth’s precarious position for it to be able to sustain its funding, he said it should not be at the expense of the people who are relying on the UHC for their health needs.
He added that the COVID-19 pandemic reveals the weaknesses and inequity in the current healthcare system, which the law seeks to address.
The Senate Minority Leader also expressed his concern that postponing the full implementation of the UHC could “discourage poor people from seeking hospital treatments or primary health care even if they experience COVID-19 symptoms.”
Drilon said the implementation of UHC is sourced from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, premium contribution of members, annual appropriation of DOH under the General Appropriations Act, and National Government subsidy to Philhealth.
Drilon said he has already called on the Department of Budget and Management to increase funding for the health sector in the National Expenditure Program for 2021.
“If we learned anything about the onset of the pandemic, it is that the health sector must get a big part of the budgetary pie,” he said.
The health of the people is the State’s responsibility,” he added.
MANILA, Philippines – Pinalawig ng Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) ang deadline sa pagbabayad ng kontribusyon para sa self-earning members hanggang Hunyo 30.
Sa isang pahayag ngayong Martes, sinabi ng Philhealth na ito ay upang mabawasan ang isipin sa bayarin ng mga miyembro nito sa gitna ng novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Sinabi rin ng ahensya na maaari pa rin namang gamitin ang flexible at deferred payment scheme kung nanaisin ng overseas Filipino workers (OFW).
Sa Philhealth Advisory No. 2020-038, sakop din ng extension ang pagbabayad sa kontribusyon para sa professional practitioners at mga saklaw ng group enrolment schemes.
“They may pay their contributions at any of its accredited collecting agents (ACAs) and PhilHealth local health insurance offices (LHIOs) nationwide,” ayon sa ahensya.
Sinabi rin ng state insurer na maaaring magbayad ang mga employer ng premium remittances hanggang June 22 para sa mga buwan ng Pebrero, Marso at Abril.
“Employers in the public and private sectors have also been advised that their premium remittances for the applicable months of February, March and April 2020 can be paid until June 22, 2020 without interest, in line with the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act,” ani ng Philhealth.
Inanunsyo rin ng ahensya na maaaring magbayad ng inisyal ang mga OFW ng kanilang remium gamit ang dating rate na P2,400 at bibigyan sila ng isang taon para kumpletuhin ang natitirang balanse.
Nakapaloob ito sa Philhealth Advisory No. 2020-037 na nagsasaad ng mga panuntunan para sa overseas Filipino workers na apektado ng pagpapatupad ng Universal Health Care Act.
“It said that OFWs “may pay at the previous rate of P2,400 as initial payment” and are “granted One year or 12 months from the date of their initial payment to complete their balance for the year,” ayon sa Philhealth.
Nilinaw rin ng ahensiya na sa ngayon ay boluntaryo ang pagbabayad ng premium para sa mga OFW sa gitna ng pandemya ngunit aplikable pa rin ang mga probisyon ng Universal Health Care law ukol sa premium payment ng mga OFW hangga’t hindi ito inaamiyendahan ng Kongreso. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)
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