PhilHealth holds meetings on UHC implementation

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) recently staged a series of virtual meetings with their various stakeholders in order to keep them abreast on latest developments on the implementation of Republic Act 11223, otherwise known as the Universal Health Care Law.


Around 1,200 participants from different sectors comprising of employers and business owners, labor and overseas contract worker groups, recruitment and manning agencies, health care professionals and medical societies, and media practitioners have attended the half-day sessions organized by the state health insurer.


Local Chief Executives (LCEs) of partner Local Government Units (LGUs), human resource officers of National Government Agencies (NGAs) and administrators of various organized groups whose members consist of self-earning individuals such as small traders and job order contractors also graced the event.


The meetings were designed to refresh them on the salient points of the UHC Law and how it aims to provide Filipinos with financial risk protection as they gain access to quality and affordable healthcare services. Highlight of the presentations include the benefit packages introduced as part of PhilHealth’s COVID response in the last two years from testing, home and facility-based isolation, hospitalization, to vaccine injury compensation.


The participants were also briefed on the packages that will either be expanded or introduced in the immediate future such as additional dialysis sessions, an outpatient mental health package, and continuing full financial risk protection for healthcare workers.


As mandated by law, PhilHealth introduced and is now vigorously enlisting facilities so that members and their dependents can avail themselves of primary care benefits that include regular consultations, preventive and promotive care, select diagnostic tests and medicines upon the recommendation of the primary care professional.


To be able to enhance and sustain existing benefits, and introduce new packages to meet patient demands, the attendees representing major stakeholder groups were informed and thoroughly briefed on membership and contribution issues, particularly on the resumption of the scheduled premium contribution as mandated by the UHC Law.


According to Section 10, contribution rate and ceiling for Direct Contributors for 2022 shall be at 4 percent and P80,000, respectively. The Agency said it will resume collecting the legislated contribution schedule effective January 2022. However, its collection systems particularly the Electronic Payment and Reporting System (EPRS) and the PhilHealth Member Portal will be ready for payments/remittances following the adjusted rate starting the month of June 2022, while payment of the one percent differential for the paid periods (referring to January to May 2022) may be settled until December this year.


Cognizant of the situation of many Filipinos at this time of the pandemic, PhilHealth deferred implementation and instead supported efforts in Congress for a possible legislation that would grant the President with powers to suspend increases during national emergencies.


However, with no legislation yet in sight, it said it is resuming implementation of the contribution schedule this year as mandated by the UHC Law.


Overall, the fora received positive response from the stakeholders where most of the participants expressed readiness to support its programs and policies in order to sustain their benefits. They also manifested willingness to become social health insurance advocates, citing PhilHealth’s importance where effectively managing hospitalization costs is concerned.


For their part, PhilHealth President and CEO Atty. Dante A. Gierran, and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Atty. Eli Dino D. Santos encouraged all stakeholders to support the UHC Law by helping the agency attain its vision of providing all Filipinos with quality and affordable health care services anytime and anywhere they need them.