DESPITE the city’s high overall membership, the number of lower-income insurance holders of PhilHealth remains low, a health insurance official said.

Philippine Health Insurance Corporation Regional Vice President Leo Cardona said of the 4,000 individuals identified by the city social welfare office, only 1,098 individuals were enrolled by government officials for sponsorship in PhilHealth.

Click here for Election 2010 updates

The sponsored PhilHealth insurances are usually given by government officials particularly legislators to support the health needs of their constituents.

Cardona said the city lags behind other chartered cities with a high number of insured constituents, which according to him is far away from the goal of PhilHealth of providing universal coverage for all Filipinos.

One of the reasons Cardona mentioned why the city remains low in Philhealth sponsorship is because local government officials are fearful in allocating sponsored-PhilHealth insurances and enrolling city residents because of the coming election.

Despite the city’s low-sponsored PhilHealth coverages, other Cordillera local governments remain to have high PhilHealth membership in the region.

In the region the provinces of Benguet and Kalinga topped local government units which have a high membership of its residents.

As of the Dec. 31, the total PhilHealth members in the region was pegged at 363,437 with most of them coming from the private sector followed by government employees and sponsored members.

Last year, Philhealth-Cordillera Administrative Region has premium collections amounting to P349.4 million which is 10.96 percent higher than its 2008 collections of P314.9 million. (JM Agreda)