After the official publication of the Universal Health Care Act, the implementing rules and regulations (IRRs) were signed by the Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III. Among its, IRRs would be the increase of PhilHealth premium rates starting next year.
To give you a brief refresher, the Universal Health Care act is the newly-signed law last February which would provide healthcare benefits and coverage to all Filipinos from birth.
Further details of the Universal Health Care law
Under the law, all Filipinos would be automatic members of PhilHealth, whether they are direct or non-direct contributors. Furthermore, they will be assigned to a specific primary healthcare provider who will be expected to provide free and sufficient support and healthcare services through various facilities.
In addition to that, all members will then be provided a no-balance billing when they get admitted to ward accommodations or basic ward in hospitals.
How would the distribution be?
Under the law, the basic ward distribution and accommodation would surely be through the prescribed or recommended basic private bed rations of 10:90 for private health facilities; 70:30 for specialty public health facilities; and 90:10 public health facilities.
Duque said that the idea can be compared to passengers of an airplane.
Parang sumakay ka ng eroplano kung economy, sagot ng PhilHealth ang ticket. Kung gusto mo mag-business class, ‘di na kakayanin ng PhilHealth.”
In Translation: It’s like riding an airplane; if it’s an economy ticket, PhilHealth will be able to accommodate that. But they won’t be able to afford customers who wish to go business class.
PhilHealth premium rates to increase for contributors?
Under the same law, it says that to be able to provide necessary funds to those in need, there would be an increase or a hike in the PhilHealth premium rates starting next year.
How would the hike look like?
As per the mandate of the new law, by next year, an additional 0.25 percent will be added to the monthly contributions of workers.
In addition to that, direct contributors or the salaried workers of the country/professionals; those who have the capacity to pay PhilHealth premiums should expect to see their rates increase from the current 2.75 percent to 5 percent by the year 2024, following the initiative to have it increased in increments of 0.25 percent every year.
This figure translates to the total annual contributions to be at P21,600.00. To put it in a more concrete situation, people who earn at least P10,000 a month would be seeing that his PhilHealth premiums would rise from P3,600 to P6,000 for a year from 2020 to 2024.
How about Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs)?
Basing it on the IRR, OFWs who are currently paying a fixed monthly rate of P200 (P2,400) annually, would be included in the increase.
Are there new benefits under the UHC?
As per Health Secretary Duque, there are no new benefits YET but under the IRR, direct contributors are in for a treat plus an extension of additional packages from PhilHealth.
He explains that they acknowledge the fact that the law clearly denotes the fact that in ratio, what your contribution is would be provided accordingly and respectively.
It is stated under the law that direct contributors should receive bigger benefits because they are giving bigger premium contributions; there’s no problem with that. This will be subject to an actuarial determination by PhilHealth.”
Is the increase continuous? What about workers who earn more than the norm?
By the year 2024, the income ceiling would be at P100,000. Anyone who is earning that much in a month would be required to pay out a premium of P60,000 yearly.
Under the UHC law, all Filipinos would be given and provided health services that are both of quality and cost-effective. The goal is to provide optimum service without causing a financial crisis.
PhilHealth President Ricardo Morales said that although this is the case, the country needs people who have the capacity to pay their premiums appropriately to do so for the benefit of the continuous growth and execution of the UHC.
What do you think about the increase in the PhilHealth premiums rate? Is this act justifiable? Would this further improve and enhance the healthcare services in the country indefinitely?
Let’s wait and see if there will be further amendments to the IRR of the Universal Health Care law.