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PhilHealth back bill empowering President to suspend premium hikes

February 19, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 353 views

THE Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on Monday expressed support for amendments to Republic Act No. (RA) 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act that would allow for the President to suspend and adjust the period of implementation of the premium rates schedule for PhilHealth contributors, as it acknowledged that the government should be given the flexibility to respond to economic realities that could affect the incomes of Filipino families.

Acting President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel R. Ledesma, Jr. pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic “is an example of an unforeseen scenario that adversely affected the livelihoods of many of PhilHealth’s contributors.”

According to Ledesma, “in circumstances like these, there should be a mechanism in place to modify the implementation of the premium rates schedule. House Bill No. (HB) 6672 provides such a mechanism, which is why we fully support its passage.”

HB 6772 amends Section 10 of the UHC Act, which specifies the schedule of the increases in premium rates of PhilHealth contributors. Under the proposed measure, “the President of the Philippines may, upon the recommendation of the PhilHealth Board, suspend and adjust the period of implementation of the scheduled increase of premium increases during emergencies or natural calamities, or when public interest so requires.”

PhilHealth had previously reiterated compliance with President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s directive in January to suspend this year’s scheduled premium rate of 4.5% and income ceiling of P90,000.

Ledesma said that the directive “shows the wisdom of giving the President the prerogative to study and order the suspension of premium increases.”

“We in PhilHealth should follow the President’s lead, and learn to be empathetic and sensitive to the circumstances of our contributors so that we do not add to their economic burdens. Nandito tayo para tumulong, hindi para maging pabigat para sa ating mga myembro,” stressed the PhilHealth chief.

HB 6772 is authored by House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, Majority Leader Manuel Jose “Mannix” M. Dalipe, Senior Deputy Majority Leader Ferdinand Alexander A. Marcos, TINGOG Party-list Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez, and TINGOG Party-list Rep. Jude A. Acidre.

Acidre on Wednesday sponsored the said bill, and in his sponsorship speech explained that the measure is necessary as “it is imperative that our social safety nets like the PhilHealth does not strain its beneficiaries into paying more than it already can.”