PhilHealth assures enough funds for universal healthcare

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 27, 2019   •   3016

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) assured on Tuesday there will be enough funds implement the recently signed Universal Healthcare law.

PhilHealth acting president Roy Ferrer clarified during a press briefing, that PhilHealth only lacks P22 billion to fund the implementation of UHC law and not P170 billion.

“There had been an appropriation of P18 billion, this is additional to the GAA, so there’s only P22 billion lacking, most likely we’ll get this from the sin taxes on tobacco and alcohol,” he said.

They are also confident in providing financial assistance to all its members especially after netting an income of P11.6 billion in 2018.

PhilHealth executive vice president Ruben Basa said the 2018 income is a complete turnaround from their 2017 net income of P237 million.

“We recorded a total of P32.5 billion in premium income, earned solid returns in our investments as evidenced by P5.1 billion windfall from government securities, and our total investment portfolio is at PHP149 billion while our reserve fund is at P97 billion at the close of 2018,” Basa added.

They were also able to reduce turnaround time to 20 days from last year’s 68-day average because of the e-Claims system which expedites the process in verifying the benefit eligibility of members, their status of claims and remove costs for physical transport and supplies in claims submission.

Meanwhile, Ferrer denied the debt claims of several private hospitals against PhilHealth and said that it might be the “bad claims which PhilHealth cannot pay”.

“Noong early part of 2018 we released P2 billion benefits payouts weekly at noong latter part po P3 billion, so I don’t think may utang sa private hospitals,” he added.

(During the early part of 2018, we realeased P2 billion benefits payouts weekly and in the latter part, P3 billion so I don’t think there are debts in private hospitals.) — Aileen Cerrudo

DOH signs IRR of Universal Health Care Law

Freema Gloria   •   October 10, 2019

Patients receive medical attention inside a hospital in the town of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat province. EPA-EFE/JEOFFREY MAITEM

The Department of Health (DOH) has signed the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Universal Health Care Law.

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III led the signing of the IRR of the UHC law or the Republic Act 11223 which was witnessed by various health sectors.

The said historical event marks the implementation of the UHC law following its publication.

Under the Universal Health Care law, all Filipinos will be automatic members of Philhealth as direct or indirect contributors and will equally benefit from the no balance billing (NBB) once they have been admitted to the hospitals’ basic or ward accommodation.

Secretary Duque stated, the implementation of the said law will be gradual due to budget constraints.

At least P257 billion will be the required fund for its first-year implementation, yet only P167 billion has been approved.

By the year 2020 to 2024, the department will be needing more than P1- trillion fund for the operation of universal health care.

Duque added that the Philhealth premium rates will increase by 0.25% per year from its current 2.75%.

Philhealth, on its part, will consider giving new benefits for those who are paying their contributions which will be different from the beneficiaries of the Universal Health Care Act. — FSG (from the report of Nel Maribojoc)

Privatization, case rate payment scheme removal, recommended amid PhilHealth anomaly issue

Maris Federez   •   August 14, 2019

Senator Franklin Drilon at Wednesday’s (August 13) hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee expressed concern on the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s ability to pay its members the necessary claims and benefits in the next ten years.

“I do not know how to sustain these in the next 10 years if you keep on incurring a net operating cost. At the end of the day, you might see a collapsing Philhealth,” Drilon said.

This is after the Commission on Audit (COA) released its report of the state insurance’s yearly net operating loss that has now reached billions of pesos.

To which Philhealth vice president for Data Protection, Nerissa Santiago answered: “Those were the years that we increased the benefits without the increase in premiums.”

Other senators were also alarmed by the alleged anomaly and corruption in the agency, including overpayment and ghost dialysis patients.

With this, former Department of Health (DOH) secretary and now Iloilo representative Janette Garin recommended the abolition of the case rate payment scheme and the privatization of some of the operations of the state insurance.

This, she said, will help eradicate corruption.

“Scrap the case rate case. Push through with the individual membership on smaller premium para mawala po ang [so that we will eliminate] ghost members,” Garin said. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Blue Ribbon invites Philhealth officials in hearing on state insurance anomaly

Maris Federez   •   August 6, 2019

Senator Panfilo Lacson

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has set its hearing on the alleged anomaly in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) on Thursday (August 8).

In his privilege speech, Senator Panfilo Lacson revealed that Php153-Billion of Philhealth’s fund had gone to overpayments and fraud.

Lacson added that he had requested to send invitations to several Philhealth officials who can testify to the alleged anomaly in the state insurance agency.

“Mga regional senior vice presidents kasi [These are regional senior vice presidents because] many of the information that we got came from insiders from Philhealth themselves,” Lacson said.  (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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