BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) will set aside P7 billion to help its members cope with the impact of the global economic crisis.
PhilHealth president and CEO Rey Aquino said funds which will be placed under the government’s economic stimulus package would not be used for infrastructure “but for the exclusive use of member-beneficiaries for their additional benefits.”
“We understand the plight of our members and we re-affirm our commitment to ensure better financial protection for them in times they need it most,” Aquino said.
Aquino and other PhilHealth officials from Luzon are meeting here to find additional ways to help PhilHealth members deal with the economic meltdown.
He also announced that PhilHealth would increase its benefit packages for members by 35 percent starting May 1.
“With this, we would also like to announce that there will be no increase in premium payment despite the increase in the benefit package,” he added.
PhilHealth senior vice-president for Actuarial Services and Risk Management Sector Octaviano Esguerra claimed that the increase is “not across the board,” but primarily covers medicine and diagnostic services and “moderate” increases on room charges.
PhilHealth executive vice-president Lorna Fajardo also said displaced workers could still enjoy PhilHealth benefits by being included in the “sponsored group” of members.
Fajardo said these workers must register with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) which would, in turn, coordinate with their respective local government units (LGUs).
The LGUs will then be asked to contribute half of the worker’s P1,200 annual premium fee so that they could continuously avail of PhilHealth services.
“PhilHealth cannot just dispense services without the commensurate premium payment. If an LGU is not able to pay for the worker’s premium, then we’ll look for other resources,” he noted in a press conference celebrating the 14th anniversary of PhilHealth.
The scheme was agreed upon in a meeting held recently in Malacañang.
PhilHealth has launched new benefits like the recently expanded maternity package which would now cover up to the fourth normal spontaneous delivery. – Artemio Dumlao, Sheila Crisostomo, Philippine Star