Palace orders PhilHealth to suspend 2023 rate hike

Malacañang has ordered the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to defer the increase of premium rate and income ceiling that was slated this year, saying Filipinos are still struggling from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a memorandum signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, the state insurer was told to hold off a scheduled increase in the PhilHealth premium rate from 4 percent to 4.5 percent and income ceiling from P80,000 to P90,000 for 2023 as mandated by Section 10 of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act.

The UHC law mandates a yearly increase in member premiums by 0.5 percent starting in 2021 until it reaches its five-percent limit in 2025.

"In light of the prevailing socioeconomic challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, and to provide financial relief to our countrymen amidst these difficult times, please be informed that the President has directed the PhilHealth to suspend the above mentioned increase in premium rate and income ceiling for Calendar Year 2023,” it read.

PhilHealth had said that the supposed increase in premium would aid it in sustaining the level of benefits that members currently enjoy.

In January 2021, former President Rodrigo Duterte postponed the increase in PhilHealth member contributions due to the pandemic but soon resumed the increase in June 2022.