HEALTH Secretary Ted Herbosa has urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to maintain the suspension in the implementation of the premium rate increase of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) starting January 2024.
In a media forum on Wednesday, January 17, 2024, Herbosa said he sent a letter to Marcos recommending the suspension of implementation of Philhealth’s premium rate hike.
He said delaying the premium hike will not have a negative impact on the agency’s financial standing, noting that Philhealth “is healthy with a very good reserve and a very good investment.”
“If ever the President will agree to the contribution, my recommendation is to start from where we stopped, not the current five percent. If we stopped at two percent or three percent increase, we start at where it was suspended. That for me is the logical way to lift suspension. We don't jump to a very high rate kasi kawawa ang mga tao,” he said.
“My position is that, I think PhilHealth has enough money to actually continue to give benefits. It will not be hurt by delaying the increase in premium. I need to see good actuarial on this one. You need to have a science-based policy. Hindi 'yung whim na itataas mo lang. There are other things that are supporting health care," he added.
Herbosa said he also considered the continuous increase in the prices of commodities.
Herbosa, who serves as Philhealth’s Board of Directors chairperson, said he will discuss the matter with the board on Wednesday afternoon.
Last week, PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel Ledesma said members’ premium contribution rate has increased to five percent since January 1 in compliance with the Universal Healthcare Law (UHC) and pending an order from the President to halt its implementation.
The increase will affect members earning P10,000 to P100,000 per month.
Ledesma said those earning P10,000 will be paying P500 monthly premium, while those earning at least P10,000.01 to P100,000 will contribute the minimum of P500 to a maximum of P5,000.
Under UHC, all Filipino citizens, including overseas Filipino workers, are automatically enrolled in the state social health insurance PhilHealth. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)