Probe into ‘astronomical’ hike in PhilHealth contributions sought-A A +A
Thursday, January 12, 2012
AN Ilonggo lawmaker is pushing for an inquiry on the decision of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation to increase premium contributions this year.
“PhilHealth Circular 022-2011 withdrawing 50 percent of the subsidy being covered by the national government would mean a 100% increase or from P1,200/ member annually to P2,400/member annually on the premium being paid by LGUs effective July this year,” explained Iloilo congressman Jerry Treñas, who chairs the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability.
“This would make it nearly impossible for some local government units to pay premiums for their PhilHealth beneficiaries. This would surely disenfranchise millions of PhilHealth members who are depending on the subsidy being provided by their LGUs,” he said, adding that the move runs counter to the government's mission of providing a complete, modern and affordable health care system for all."
The drastic effect and extreme financial burden that will fall on the shoulders of the LGUs will certainly force some of them to completely stop paying their PhilHealth contributions for the simple reason that they can no longer afford the premiums, the solon stressed in House Resolution 2023. “The financial cost to the LGUs of this sudden policy shift will be astronomical."
As per the PhilHealth circular, the premium contribution of all National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR)-identified poor families under the sponsored program shall be P2,400 per year effective January 1, 2012.
“The sponsored program identification card that will be issued to the intended NHTS-PR beneficiaries shall have a two-year validity period with the expectation that the national government would sustain its subsidy until 2013.”
Premium contributions under the partial subsidy scheme shall be increased to P2,400 per year effective July 1 this year. For LGUs/sponsors who enroll and pay their contribution within the first semester of 2012, the annual premium contribution shall be computed at P1,200. “For LGUs/sponsors…who sign a memorandum of agreement and commit to pay their contribution for two consecutive years, the annual premium contribution shall be computed at P1,200.”
Treñas said that under the new scheme, “the national government would fully subsidize PhilHealth members covered by the NHTS-PR but at the same time, would withdraw 50% of its subsidy being extended to members who are not within the NHTS-PR coverage.”
This would mean that self-paying PhilHealth members, including overseas contract workers and those sponsored by the LGUs, would have to pay double from their original premium starting July.
“(But) the LGUs do not have the financial resources to cover the additional costs brought about by the drastic increases Philhealth premium payments. The LGUs cover numerous indigent sectors such as sidewalk vendors, jeepney drivers, market vendors and other sectors not covered by the NHTS-PR. The PhilHealth policies of these beneficiaries will be jeopardized," he added. (CGC)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 12, 2012.