Benefited “Yolanda” survivors in EV

By: Sarwell Q.  Meniano

TACLOBAN CITY – Nearly P5 billion medical expenses have been paid by the national government to survivors of supertyphoon “Yolanda” who were confined in various health facilities in the region for the last three years.
This was disclosed by Renato Limsiaco, regional vice president of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), during a press conference Monday (February 20).
The state health insurance firm reported 623,145 typhoon survivors who were non-PhilHealth members and those who missed paying their premiums benefited the claims.
“From 2014 to 2016, Eastern Visayas was the only region in the country that experienced the universal coverage in terms of benefits with the implementation of all-can-avail policy after the super typhoon,” Limsiaco said.
The policy, meant for all patients in typhoon-hit region regardless of their membership status, ended on Dec. 31, 2016 or three year after Yolanda hit the Visayas on November 8, 2013.
“Without this policy, we would deprive the 623,145 people from healthcare services,” Limsiaco said, referring to the benefit of the program specially implemented in all areas hit by the world’s strongest typhoon to hit inland.
But the number could still increase as there are still claims that are being processed by their office, Limsiaco said.
The PhilHealth in the region paid claims P4.88 billion. Of this amount, P25.18 million were paid in late 2013, P1.82 billion in 2014, P2.08 billion in 2015, and P962.92 million last year.
To include benefits payment to active members, the government has paid more than P9 billion health insurance claims between late 2013 until last year.
Limsiaco admitted that the regional office suffered losses with the massive claims payment for Yolanda survivors, but it somehow uplifted the regional economy.
In 2016, for instance, the state health insurance firm only earned PHP900 million premium contributions from regular members and PHP2.4 billion from national government’s subsidy for poor families.
“We are thankful that the Philhealth management provided the region with this benefit,” Limsiaco said.
Total collection was P200 million less than the P3.5 million actual benefits payment last year.
Excess contributions from other regions covered the deficiency in Eastern Visayas.