PhilHealth could lose about P147B in 2021; actuarial life good only for one more year, says official 

Published August 4, 2020, 3:00 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) on Tuesday said the actuarial life of the state health insurer is now only good for one more year.

(MANILA BULLETIN)

At the Senate committee of the whole hearing, Nerissa Santiago, senior vice president for actuarial services and risk management sector, admitted that for 2020, PhilHealth is already expecting a net operating loss of about P90-billion.

“And for 2021, if the COVID-19 pandemic persists until 2021, and no vaccine is discovered, we will incur about P147-billion in terms of operating loss,” Santiago said responding to a question of Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon.

Santiago also said that contrary to their earlier assumption that PhilHealth will possibly run into a deficit starting in 2024, the state health insurance agency’s reserve fund is already running out due to lack of contributions and higher benefit pay outs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It will be in 2021 that we will run into deficit. The reserve fund would be…there would be no more reserve fund by 2021. So deficit na po tayo in terms of collections and benefit pay outs in 2020 because of the expected higher benefit pay outs and the decreased collections,” she said.

“Deficit na po tayo kung ico-compare natin yung contributions.. versus the benefit payouts,” she added.

“By next year po, mawawalan na po tayo ng reserved funds. So one year na lang po ang ating actuarial life,” Santiago said.

When Drilon asked if PhilHealth is indeed in the verge of collapsing and that it will cease operations in 2022, Santiago responded in the affirmative.

“Yes, sir. That is correct,” she said.

According to Santiago, the only way PhilHealth can stay afloat is for the government to provide subsidy.

“The government has the responsibility to keep it afloat so we can only survive with additional contributions coming from the government,” she said.

To this, Drilon said he is “dumbfounded.”

“This is very serious…assuming your projections are true…this is a serious concern for the entire country,” Drilon said.

The Senate reopened its investigation on PhilHealth after fresh allegations of corruption surfaced once again.

Three PhilHealth officials reportedly resigned after a shouting match during a meeting attended by members of the President’s Cabinet.  Among the Philhealth officials was an anti-fraud officer, Thorsson Montes Keith, who alleged that PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales ordered him to “iron out” the supposed overpriced COVID-19 testing package of PhilHealth.

Last May, Drilon urged PhilHealth to review its COVID testing package which he found to be “outrageously high-priced.” The agency eventually halved the price from P8,150 to P4,200.

 
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