TACLOBAN CITY- The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is stepping up its partnership with stakeholders with just less than two months left before the full implementation of Universal Health Care (UHC) law.
PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Morales said on Tuesday (Nov.12) they have been refining the mechanism for the full implementation of the law, constantly conducting forums to deliver proper information to the stakeholders and come up with unified action to their concerns.
“With the approval and publication of the implementing rules and regulations, the first year of implementation would be next year starting in January and from now until then, we will put all the elements together and will be conducting similar forums in different parts of the country,” Morales said.
Morales led a forum at the Summit Hotel here attended by governors, vice governors, mayors, hospital executives, and national government agencies officials in Eastern Visayas.
The state-run health insurance firm has requested P153 billion from the central government to finance the first year of UHC law implementation, however only P63 billion was approved.
“We will still be negotiating this to the Congress and Senate to provide the fund requirement at least for the first year of implementation,” he said.
Morales warned if the proposed budget will not be released, the UHC coverage will just be limited to the direct members or those who pay the insurance premiums.
As of now, there are 55 million registered PhilHealth members or a total of 104 million Filipinos covered including their dependents.
The figure comprises 98 percent of the country’s total population.
“By next year, 100 percent of the country’s population will be under this program that is around 106 to 108 million Filipinos, but of course they have to register to avail the UHC,” Morales said.
Aside from the premium of the direct members, fund sources for UHC include the Department of Health’s annual budget, PhilHealth subsidies to indigent families, allocations from the Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corporation and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, PhilHealth membership contributions and sin taxes on alcohol and tobacco.
The UHC, signed last February 20 by President Rodrigo Duterte, ensures that every Filipino, including overseas Filipino workers, are eligible for preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative care upon automatic enrollment to the government’s health insurance program.
Under the law, all Filipino citizens are automatically enrolled in the government’s health insurance program. (PNA)