Mixed reactions on PhilHealth contributions increase

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LAWMAKERS today expressed differing views over the increase in members’ contributions to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) which takes effect this month, saying it should keep its promise of more benefits to be given to its members and wider coverage of illnesses to include heart ailment for children such as enlarged heart, as well as coverage for cervical cancer, heart bypass surgery and provision for artificial legs.

Rep. Marcelino Teodoro (1st District, Marikina City) welcomed the increase in PhilHealth contribution as long as PhilHealth keeps its word in increasing the health coverage of its members.

“Philhealth should also improve their services especially the processing of reimbursement cheques to ensure the speedy response of the institution to the financial needs of its members,” Teodoro said.

Teodoro said the increase in contribution should be commensurate to the additional services that PhilHealth provides so as not to be misconstrued as a burden to Filipinos.

Rep. Maria Carmen Zamora (1st District, Compostela Valley) said the increase in PhilHealth contributions is not a question of whether one is in favor or not – but is an actual need.

Zamora said medical costs have been steadily rising and it must be supported by increasing the member’s share.

“It is really a case of getting what you pay for, and for better medical coverage, we need to step up as individuals, as organizations and as a community. Matagal na po nakasalang ang programa ng pagtaas ng mga kontribusyon at naging effective na nga po ang new rates ngayong taon,” Zamora stated.

Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City) for his part said any increase in PhilHealth contributions should be premised on the pursuit of health for all program, which means the universal delivery of health services to all Filipinos.

“Unless the health authorities provide this health for all program, PhilHealth has no business raising its contribution rates. Moreover, health authorities have to assure efficient, effective and graft free delivery of universal health services,” Castelo said.

Rep. Reena Concepcion Obillo (Party-list, Una ang Pamilya) said it is okay to increase contributions as long as collection and efficiency of collected funds are properly implemented.

However, Rep. Luzviminda C. Ilagan (Party-list, GABRIELA) criticized the implementation of the increase stating it is the position of Gabriela that PhilHealth, even without the increase has failed to deliver the promised services.

Ilagan said based on data from the ground, the process is tedious, the coverage is still limited and most payments are still out of pocket.

“There are many conditions for enjoyment of benefits. Also, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) complain that they are required to contribute but they do not avail of the benefits since they are abroad and have their own health insurance,” Ilagan added.

Ilagan said to enjoy PhilHealth benefits, one must become a member. The poor and unemployed do not have that capability.

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