By Hannah Torregoza
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) will propose a higher subsidy for 2021 to address members’ concerns on the COVID-19 pandemic.
PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales bared this during the joint congressional oversight committee hearing on the Universal Health Care (UHC) law. PhilHealth is the lead agency tasked to implement the landmark law that expands Filipinos’ access to basic health care services.
Morales pointed out during the hearing led by Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go that PhilHealth only received a P71.3-billion subsidy under the 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
“Our (2020 GAA) proposal was for a subsidy of P153-billion, but what Philhealth received for this year was P71.3-billion,” Morales said during the virtual hearing.
“In effect, this was not enough to fund the premium of all indirect contributors, thus, affecting Philhealth’s capacity to cover all benefits,” he added.
As of April 30, 2020, Morales said PhilHealth was only able to collect a total premium income of P46.5-billion, which is below the benefit expense of P52.5-billion.
“We have a benefit expense of P52.5-billion and we have collected a total premium income of P46.5-billion. In other words, we are spending 13 centavos more per peso than we collect as premium collection,” the PhilHealth chief said.
For 2021, Morales said PhilHealth will propose a subsidy of P138-billion that would be based on more accurate projections provided by “different relevant agencies” if the level of subsidy remains unchanged.
Morales said PhilHealth’s COVID-19 related response is estimated to be at P40.7-billion.
“This is what it will cost PhilHealth to respond to the (COVID-19) pandemic from February 2020 to January 2021,” he said.
Showing NHIP’s fund projections, Morales projected PhilHealth would run a budget deficit until 2024 under the COVID-19 scenario.
“We will be running a deficit by the end of 2020 and we will be maintaining that deficit up to 2024,” he said.