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‘PhilHealth operating funds good only for 6 months’

Celso Amo, Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - March 9, 2016 - 9:00am

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Operating funds of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. are good for only six months unless the government pays its past billings for government hospitals amounting to billions, a PhilHealth official said on Tuesday.

PhilHealth board member Ed Dorotan said the health insurance earned P96 billion last year, but paid out P97 billion in total claims.

“PhilHealth’s double expenditures came from new insurance service offerings for 4Ps beneficiaries and senior citizens amounting to P10 billion,” Dorotan said during the inauguration of a new PhilHealth office in Landco Business Park.

The Deparment of Social Welfare and Development said there are more than 4.4 million Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries covered by PhilHealth.

About six million senior citizens have been enrolled as beneficiaries of the lifetime health insurance under PhilHealth’s program for the elderly.

Dorotan said PhilHealth got 80 percent of the P35-billion sin tax collection in 2015. He said the insurance agency wanted to extend its universal health coverage and local government units can help by increasing their premium contribution.

Although PhilHealth has about P5-billion equity from its investments, it has at least P120 billion in reserve funds.

PhilHealth vice president for Southern Luzon Manilo Iñigo said the agency collected some P980 million, but paid P3.1 billion in claims in Bicol last year.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said under the law, PhilHealth should have two years of operating reserve.

“To optimize PhilHealth’s contribution it should be compulsory,” said Salceda, the event’s guest of honor along with Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal.

Salceda, who is running for Albay’s second congressional district under the Liberal Party, promised to pass a bill in Congress to make health insurance compulsory in the country.

Meanwhile, in Pampanga, a total of 4,028 indigent residents of San Fernando City and Bacolor are now covered by PhilHealth as provided under the provincial government’s “Alaga Ka Para sa Maayos na Buhay” program.

A total of 1,028 members’ data records were distributed in Northville Calulut in San Fernando and 3,000 in Barangay Cabambangan in Bacolor.

Gov. Lilia Pineda reminded beneficiaries to maximize the use of free health insurance, noting the program entitles them to free service in government hospitals.

Pineda said the provincial government allotted P50 million for its health care program for the poor. – With Ding Cervantes

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