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Starting next year 2020, Philippine Health Insurance Corp to increase its annual premium including the OFW

Manila, Philippines- Starting the next year 2020, the annual premiums of Philhealth members will increase to .25 percent. This is mandated by the new law.

The Implementing Rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 11223 or also known as Universal Health Care (UHC) Act. In the governing law, all salaried workers, professionals, and individuals who can pay the premium including the OFW are mandated to pay the premiums. The rates will increase from the current 2.75 percent to 5 percent by 2024.

What does it mean?
If the worker is earning P10,000 a month then from the present annual premium of P3,600, this will increase to P6,000 from the year 2020 to 2024. Meanwhile, the OFW is currently paying the fixed annual rate of P2,400.

Every year, the Philhealth monthly income cap will increase as covered in the premiums to as high as P60,000 which will generate an annual premium to P21,000. And by the year 2024, those who are earning P100,000 monthly will be shelling out an annual premium of P60,000.

Thursday, During the formal signing of MOA, The PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales said that " Under the UHC, all Filipinos would be given “quality and cost-effective” health services that would not cause them financial hardship. But there is also a need, for those who have the capacity, that they pay their premiums.

He also iterated that the PhilHealth is relying on the premiums to help sustain the UHC but it is also following a 65-35 ratio, with the latter percentage of contributors helping pay for the former.

“It’s the ‘Robin Hood’ configuration of the UHC,” Morales said. And aside from the PhilHealth premium contributions, to fund the UHC it would also come from the Department of Health’s budget, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s charity fund, the Philippine Amusement, and Gaming Corp.’s remittances, and shares from six tax revenues.

During the formal signing of IRR, the Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has guaranteed additional benefits to all direct contributors.

"It is stated under the law that direct contributors should receive bigger benefits because they are giving bigger premium contributions,” he said. “There’s no problem with that.”
“This will be subject to an actuarial determination by PhilHealth, the easiest thing to do is to improve benefits but you have to balance this with the actuarial sustainability. ” Duque said.

Meanwhile, the Former Labor Undersecretary Susan Ople and the heads the OFW advocacy group Blas F. Ople Policy Center has warned the government in forcing the OFW to pay the premium. And according to her, several Filipinos will be forced to used back doors in working abroad.

“It was never meant to be used by other agencies as a collection tool,” she said.

She also expressed her frustration of the provision because according to her, the salary of the domestic helpers stagnant and so there is no reason to force them to pay the Philhealth premium.

“The salaries of our domestic workers abroad have been stagnant for more than a decade. Asking them to pay that much considering that they will be away from the country for at least two years would cause undue burden given their vulnerable status and work conditions,” she said.

In Section 10 of the IRR, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) was tasked to “ensure that land-based overseas Filipino workers, whether new hires or returning, pay their PhilHealth premiums prior to issuance of the overseas employment certificate.”

Labor migration expert Emmanuel Geslani has also expressed his concern on the provision which he  said that when Section 10 of the IRR regarding OFWs “is enforced, obviously the agencies will shoulder that payment, similar to SSS (Social Security System), which is objectionable to the [recruitment] industry.”


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