Duque ‘open’ to privatizing, outsourcing PhilHealth operations

Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III said he is open to proposals seeking to privatize the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to minimize corruption in the agency.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

According to Duque, outsourcing or privatizing some of PhilHealth’s components such as the claims and benefits processing, counter fraud and risk management could stem corruption and make the state health insurance agency more efficient.

“Yes, there are many components of the health insurance system that can be outsourced,” Duque said during the Senate’s hearing on the DOH's proposed P203.74-billion budget for 2021.

“An example would be claims processing, 'yung counter fraud, risk management — tatlo po 'yan na puwede natin i-privatize (those three we can privatize),” he pointed out.

Duque agreed that this would greatly help improve the management inside the PhilHealth which has been plagued with so much irregularities.

“Maiiwasan po 'yung mga pandaraya sa pag-file ng mga claims kung ito ay naka-privatize, (Privatizing it can help prevent the fraudulent filing of claims),” said Duque, current chairperson of the PhilHealth Board.

The Senate had earlier recommended that Duque, along with other top PhilHealth officials, be indicted over the alleged anomalous release of interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM) funds.

Duque has since denied his involvement in the alleged irregularities in the agency. President Duterte has also repeatedly defended the DOH chief from these allegations.

Duterte had earlier broached the idea of abolishing or privatizing PhilHealth with leaders of Congress to address the issue of red tape and corruption within the agency.