THE PHILIPPINE Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) should defer the premium increase that is set to take effect in June amid rising consumer prices, according to a lawmaker.
“The deferment of the higher PhilHealth premium is even more necessary at this point amid the successive rounds of price hikes since January, and the still unresolved controversies in the state insurer,” Party-list Rep. Arlene D. Brosas in a statement at the weekend.
This comes after the state insurer said the increase in contributions starting June would be retroactive from January, meaning other than the contributions taken from an employee’s salary, an additional premium of 1% will be deducted for January to May.
The premium rate collected will be at 4% beginning June, PhilHealth earlier said. It was initially scheduled to increase to 3.5% from 3% in January last year but was postponed amid a coronavirus pandemic.
“The new wage cut is P400 to P3,200, and it will only swallow the additional wage of P33 per day in the National Capital Region,” Ms. Brosas said. “It will bring more hardship to the people immediately after the elections. This is cruel.”
She said she would ensure the passage of a House resolution suspending any PhilHealth premium increases and changes to the Universal Health Care Act in the next Congress to remove automatic increases.
Under the law, the premium rate should increase by 0.5% yearly starting from 3% in 2020 until it hits 5%.
The country’s insurance-based healthcare system should be revamped so that Filipinos don’t have to foot the bill, Ms. Brosas said.
“Philhealth contributions are basically income deductions that could have been spent by workers on food and other necessities,” she said.
“Healthcare should be primarily shouldered by the National Government through sufficient state funding in the public health system,” she added. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan