By Mike Crismundo
BUTUAN CITY – Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) Regional Vice President Dr. Eduardo S. Gonzalez assured Caraganons that the Universal Health Care Act (UHCA) would surely give health care services without heavy financial burden.
“All Caraganons will be ensured of equitable access of health care, with this UHCA,” said the region’s top PhilHealth official, in an exclusive interview with The Manila Bulletin yesterday.
He said health care program is on the verge of a new era for the health sector, especially that UHCA is now in place.
“It is only a matter of time that real and profound changes will take place that will surely be felt by Caraganons,” assured Gonzalez.
The PhilHealth vice-president in Northeastern Mindanao also said that the UHC aims to automatically include all Filipinos in the National Health Insurance Program, and grant them immediate eligibility to claim benefits when needed.
PhilHealth said over 100 million Filipinos are currently covered by PhilHealth.
With UHCA, the remaining six million of the population will soon be included and provided with health insurance.
In Northeastern Mindanao alone or Caraga region, total payment last year was already more thanP1.8 billion while the agency is eyeing close to P2 billion this year.
Next year, Dr. Gonzalez said the state health insurer has mechanisms in place, so it can truly fulfill the law’s mandate, under the UHCA 11223 law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR).
“Under the UHC act, every Caraganons and all Filipinos will be treated by any PhilHealth accredited hospital nationwide,” VP Gonzalez said.
The region’s PhilHealth top official assured that active PhilHealth members can still be fully entitled to their PhilHealth benefits.
By law, paying members such as those employed and self-paying, should continue remitting their premium contributions, the official emphasized.
On the other hand, poor and senior citizens remain covered as guaranteed by various laws for as long as they are qualified, it said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Joel Arturo S. De Jesus, chief of PhilHealth 13-HCMDM briefed the local media during year-end report about the Universal Health Care Law at the agency’s regional office here on Monday.