Nancy Binay lauds IATF, CHED over move to scrap health insurance req’t for in-person classes

Senator Nancy Binay on Sunday commended the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for repealing the policy requiring students in higher education institutions (HEIs) to have medical insurance before participating in face-to-face classes.

“Nagpapasalamat tayo sa IATF at CHED sa pagbawi ng requirement na dapat may medical insurance ang mga estudyanteng lalahok sa in-person classes (We are thankful to the IATF and CHED for doing away with the medical insurance requirement for students participating in in-person classes),” Binay said in a statement.

“Bawas perwisyo ito sa mga estudyante't pamilya nila, at reassuring din na nakikinig ang pamahalaan sa mga hinaing ng bayan (It lessens the burden for the student and their family, and it’s also reassuring that the government is heeding the voice of the people),” Binay said.

The senator had earlier urged the government to remove the policy, which she said is onerous and unnecessary given that all Filipinos are already automatic members of PhilHealth.

Binay had repeatedly said a simple vaccination card is needed for students to present in order to be able to participate in in-person classes.

Under Republic Act No. 11223 or the Universal Health Care Law, she pointed out all Filipinos are automatically enrolled in the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) of PhilHealth.

“It takes humility to admit when one needs to correct things and take a step back. We learn from mistakes and make things better. I am glad that the IATF saw it unnecessary to further pursue the insurance requirement,” she stressed.

“Kung talagang di naman makabubuti o walang katuturan ang isang policy ay dapat itong bawiin o amyendahan (If a policy isn’t beneficial it should be recalled or amended),” said the lawmaker.

Authorities earlier imposed the health insurance as a condition for students to be able to return to in-person classes this year.

It was based on Section H of CHED’s Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2021-004 and Department of Health (DOH), which stated guidelines on the implementation of limited face-to-face classes for all programs of higher education institutions.

Last March, the IATF allowed the conduct of in-person classes for HEIs in areas under Alert Level 1 to up to 100-percent classroom capacity, but only fully-vaccinated students and teaching and non-teaching personnel are allowed to participate.