PhilHealth defends 4% premium rate, launches service desk in Bagamanoc

Residents of three northern towns in Catanduanes now have easier access to services of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) with the opening of its service desk in Bagamanoc recently.

The launching of service desk on May 24, 2022 coincided with the visit of PhilHealth Regional Vice President Henry Almanon and his staff to meet with provincial officials, employers and the local media to discuss the implementation this June 2022 of the mandated increase of its members’ contribution rate to 4%.

RVP Almanon said that the first service desk in the province of Catanduanes will be a great opportunity to bring PhilHealth services closer to the people as it will benefit not just the residents of Bagamanoc but also those from the neighboring municipalities of Viga and Panganiban.

“PhilHealth Bicol is happy to bring our servtces to Bagamanoc. I believe that providing more transaction sites and making services easier and more convenient is a one step closer to achieving our commitment of Universal Health Care,” he stated, adding that this would not be possible without the support of the provincial government under the leadership of Gov. Joseph Cua and the municipal government of Bagamanoc led by Mayor Remegio Villaluna.

As an extension of PhilHealth LHIO Catanduanes Office headed by Dr. Maria Zaila Romero, the PhilHealth Bagamanoc Express Office js now providing services such as PhilHealth Identification Number (PIN), ID and Member Data Record (MDR) generation, data amendment and information kiosk for walk-in inquiries.

Almanon and his staff also conducted a Kapihan with the Media partners and separate dialogues for employers, Gov. Cua, the members of the Committee on Health, hospital officials and municipal health officers.

The discussions focused on the implementation of the Universal Health Care, Konsultasyong Sulit at Tama o Konsulta Package, Covid-19 Benefit Packages, and the PhilHealth Member Portal as well as the implementation of PhilHealth Advisory No.2022-0010 on the application of the 4% premium rate for CY 2022, with an income floor of P10,000.00 and Income ceiling of P80,000.000 effective January 2022.

The premium adjustment is needed to meet the mandate of UHC law to provide all Filipinos with access to quality health care services and a comprehensive set of benefits from preventive to curative, rehabilitative and palliative care, RVP Almanon disclosed.

It is necessary to sustain lifetime coverage of poor families, senior citizens, PWD and low-income individuals without paying contributions and to ensure coverage of qualified dependents without additional premiums, he added, as the UHC Law mandates automatic membership and Immediate eligibility to a wide ranged, enhanced and expanded health benefits for all Filipinos

Pursuant to RA 11223, programs such as Konsulta, Mental Health Packages for Outpatient Services and Full Financial Risk Protection for Health Workers, Severe Acute Malnutrition, Rehabilitation Medicines in adults and ST-elevation myocardial infarction will be available soon, Almanon said.

“We fully recognize the plight of many Filipinos at this time of the pandemic, which is why we have deferred Implementing the increase as mandated by the law in 2021 and waited for the Congress to legislate the grant of the powers for the President to expand the suspension of increases during national emergencies. However, With no legislation yet in sight, PhilHealth is duty bound to implement the contribution schedule this year as prescribed by the UHC Law,” the PhilHealth Bicol head explained.

In the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, PhilHealth made available benefit packages without adjusting its contributions, providing 786,384 Covid packages and implementing additional hemodialysis sessions from 90 to 144 sessions.

In terms of benefit payment, PhilHealth Bicol has paid a total of P3.2 billion for 436,000 claims in 2021., with an average Turn-Around Time of 26 days in 2021 for good claims, faster than the 60 days TAT prescribed by law.

For Covid claims, PROV has paid more than P444 million for 27,000 claims as of May 15, 2022, it added.

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