Sunday, April 15, 2012

PhilHealth expects complaints on premiums’ hike

By Mortz C. Ortigoza DAGUPAN CITY – The president and chief executive officer of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) said the corporation expected grumblings among its members on the impending premium spikes from P300 to P500. Dr. Eduardo P. Banzon said he has anticipated the uneasiness among its paying beneficiaries but said this would eventually die down after his office explains to them why the increase was necessary. “Changes have their inherent complaint. My question is: Have we explained to the members the changes? Have we explained the increase on the premium? Have we explained the benefits?” he said in Filipino. He said the hike was needed if members expected expanded benefits. He disclosed the proposed P200 additional increase to the present P300 will be implemented after the expanded benefits are already in the pipeline. The plan is for the government-owned insurance corporation to provide additional health benefits, such as maintenance medications, out-patient treatments, and illness relief fund that covers catastrophic cases like heart surgery, breast cancer, and child cancer treatment, among others. The present P300 premium paid by a member every quarter entitled him and his immediate family of 23 medical and surgical procedures. Recently, the health insurance was under attacked by governors after it proposed to double the P300 quarterly premium on July 1, 2012. They protested that the increase will directly affect public funding for health as it would be difficult for them to shoulder the contributions of poor families under their jurisdiction. Those that are covered by this hike are members who are under partial subsidy scheme and those who are self-employed under the Individually paying and overseas workers programs. Meanwhile, PhilHealth Region-1 has a new manager in Mr. Daniel F. de Leon who hails from the town of Bautista, Pangasinan. De Leon is also PhilHealth assistant vice president. He replaced Elvira C. Ver, a resident of Ilocos Norte Province, who was assigned to PhilHealth Cordillera that has an office in Baguio City. De Leon used to be assigned at PhilHealth’s main office in Manila.

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