House approves suspension of PhilHealth premiums, retaining maiden names

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
House approves suspension of PhilHealth premiums, retaining maiden names
KONSULTA. Members of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) are encouraged to register for the Konsulta Program. This 2023, the state health insurance is eyeing to register around 4 million members, Janimhe Jalbuna, chief of the PhilHealth public affairs office, said on Thursday (Jan. 26, 2023).
pna.gov.ph / PGLena

MANILA, Philippines — House lawmakers yesterday approved on third and final reading two proposals, including one that seeks to grant the President the power to suspend an increase in the premiums of the members of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), who are “direct contributors.”

The other measure seeks to allow married women to retain their maiden names, amending a provision of the country’s 72-year-old New Civil Code (NCC).

With an overwhelming 276 votes, the House passed House Bill 6772 which, according to its principal author Speaker Martin Romualdez, will save money for government and private sector workers, professionals, self-employed and other PhilHealth contributors who are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Romualdez said that based on estimates, daily wage earners who comprise a majority of PhilHealth members would save at least P50 a month or P600 a year from their health insurance premium contributions if the adjustment is suspended.

Under Republic Act 11223, or the Universal Health Care Act, PhilHealth’s premium rates will increase from four percent last year to 4.5 percent this year, or from the minimum monthly premium of P400 to P450.

The rate will further go up to five percent starting next year.

The measure was co-authored by House Majority Leader Jose Dalipe, Senior Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand Alexander Marcos and Reps. Yedda Marie Romualdez and Jude Acidre of party-list group Tingog Sinirangan.

Based on PhilHealth’s computation for this year, those earning P10,000 and below will pay P450 while those with an income of more than P10,000 up to P89,999.99 will pay P450 to P4,050.

Those earning P90,000 or more will pay P4,050.

Meanwhile, with 277 votes, the House also passed HB 4605 allowing women to retain their maiden name after marriage.

Romualdez said that although the Civil Code currently allows three options for identification for women, the bill is viewed as a “relevant and timely move to prove the commitment of the House to promoting equality of men and women before the law.”

RA 386 provides married women three options for identification. One is to use her maiden first name and surname, and add her husband’s surname. The second option is to use her maiden first name and her husband’s surname and the third is to use her husband’s full name with prefix indicating she is his wife like “Mrs.”

Under HB 4605, married women are given the fourth option of retaining their maiden first name and surname.

This means that a married woman may choose not to introduce any change to her name.

The bill was principally authored by Reps. Maria Fe Abunda of Eastern Samar, Arlene Brosas of Gabriela, Jose Dalipe of Zamboanga City, Juliet Ferrer of Negros Occidental, Aurelio Gonzales of Pampanga, Lolita Javier of Leyte, Edward Vera Maceda of Manila, Juliet Marie Veloso-Tuazon of Leyte, Jocelyn Tulfo of ACT-CIS and Ysabel Zamora of San Juan City.


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