The Senate prepares for floor debate next week a bill seeking to empower President Duterte to temporarily suspend the increased monthly contribution of stakeholders of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
This followed the endorsement of Senate Bill 2097 by the Senate health committee chaired by Senator Christopher ‘’Bong’’ Go .
Under the measure, the President is authorized to suspend the monthly contribution to PhilHealth during times of national emergency or State of Calamity.
The suspension of increased monthly contribution will be lifted once a state of calamity or national emergency is lifted.
Go said he pushed for the Senate approval of the measure to ease the burden shouldered by members of PhilHealth and employers.
According to Senators Grace Poe, Juan Miguel Zubiri and Joel Vlllanueva, authors of the bill, it is not right that there is an increased in contributions until there is resolution to alleged irregularities and corruption at PhilHealth.
The year-long coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic that hit the country’s economy is another reason cited for the proposed deferment in remittance of increased monthly premiums.
The House of Representatives earlier passed measures filed by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and Marikina Representative Stella Luz Quimbo amending Republic Act No. 11223, or the Universal Healthcare Act, by giving the President the power to defer the scheduled PhilHealth contribution increases in times of national emergencies or when the public interest so requires.
Under Velasco’s bill, which was used as the reference measure during the discussion, the suspension shall be in consultation with the Secretary of Finance and the Secretary of Health as chairperson of PhilHealth Currently, Republic Act No. 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act mandates increases in member premiums by increments of 0.5 percent every year, starting 2021 until it reaches the five percent limit in 2025.
For 2021, the premium rate is scheduled to increase to 3.5 percent of the members’ monthly basic salary, from the 2020 rate of three percent.