Go urges PhilHealth to delay payment and increase in members' contributions

Published May 4, 2020, 10:23 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Mario Casayuran

Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘’Bong’’ Go on Monday asked the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to determine if the payment by members of the premium contributions could be delayed including the increase in their contributions.

(Office of Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go / MANILA BULLETIN)
(Office of Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go / MANILA BULLETIN)

‘’I am appealing to PhilHealth to amend their Circular wherein the “Overseas Filipinos in Distress” are among those required to pay the contributions. If possible, the government must exempt the repatriated OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) and those most affected by the crisis from paying said contributions because they need help from the government during this critical time,’’ he said.

‘’I am also appealing to PhilHealth to intensify its information dissemination so that the Filipinos will understand where their contribution goes,’’ he added.

Go, chairman of the Senate Health and Demography Committee, said every possible way has to be scrutinized to ensure that this will not become an added burden to the OFWs amid the current situation.

‘’However, we also need to understand the current unique situation due to the continuing spread of COVID-19 worldwide and the paralyzation of our livelihood. Because of this, I am appealing on behalf of our OFWs,’’ he explained.

‘’Naiintindihan ko ang mga kasalukuyang hinaing ng ating mga OFWs hinggil sa mas mataas na bayarin nila sa kanilang PhilHealth contributions,’’ he said. (I understand the present concerns of our OFWs regarding the increased PhilHealth premium contributions.)

Go clarified that the increased PhilHealth contributions is in accordance with the Universal Health Care Law which was enacted into law during the past 17th Congress.

‘’This law aims to improve and expand the benefits and other health programs for the welfare of all the Filipinos – including the OFWs abroad and their families or dependents here in the Philippines,’’ he explained.

PhilHealth had said that in the past years that the amount of benefits claimed by OFWs and their dependents was higher compared to the premiums paid by them.

In normal situation, this is a fair investment for the health of our families, it added.

‘’Aside from the P10,000 one-time financial assistance distributed by the DOLE for those who lost their jobs or their livelihood were affected abroad, most of our OFWs still expect additional assistance from the government. I don’t think it is proper to charge them additional contribution at a time when they are hoping to get more help from the government,’’ Go pointed out.

‘’I am appealing that our OFWs be given sufficient time amid the current crisis. As the saying goes, in times of crisis, every single peso saved counts,’’ he added.

“Let us also balance this in order not to compromise the whole health funds for the benefit of the majority of the Filipinos especially while we are still under the prevailing health crisis),” he said.

Go said PhilHealth should explain properly all the benefits of being a member of PhilHealth.

‘’Compare the whole amount of premiums paid to all the benefits they get and their families and identify what additional benefits they will get from an increased payment in PhilHealth,’’ he said.

‘For every peso that comes out from the pocket of our countrymen, should be explained to them the benefits they get from the government in return,” he added.

‘’It is our intention to further improve all the medical programs and services. However, in times of crisis, my top priority is the welfare of all Filipinos, especially those in need of assistance. We need to help one another and cooperate in order to ease the burden of our fellow Filipinos and overcome this crisis as one nation,’’ he said.