The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) reiterated it has increased the contribution of overseas Filipino workers to 3.0% of their monthly salary, but opposition to this measure is gaining traction online.
Under PhilHealth Circular 2020-0014 dated April 02, 2020, the agency mandates OFWs whose monthly income ranges from P10,000 to P60,000 to pay 3.0%, an increase from 2.75% in 2019.
"The premium of overseas Filipinos shall be computed based on their monthly income, to be paid in Philippine Peso equivalent, in accordance with the terms of payment and corresponding due dates as prescribed by the corporation," the circular read.
2020 is considered as a transition year, with a P2,400 initial payment prescribed which can be paid in full or in quarterly payments under a settlement period of one year.
The circular also states that from January 1, 2021, the minimum acceptable initial payment is a three-month premium, based on the prescribed rate at the time of payment.
"A member who fails to pay the premium after the due date set by the Corporation shall be required to pay all missed contributions with monthly compounded interest," it stated.
OFWs seek for repeal
An online petition on Change.org — which has gained 44,754 signatures as of this posting — has since been mounted to repeal the measure, given the global health crisis caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
"I believe that we OFWs and our dependents have been already struggling amidst this pandemic and yet PhilHealth had issued a very unfair memo regarding premium payments," the petition read.
"I believe that this is already too much of them to ask for an interest rate and a penalty which is very unfair and inhumane for those who travel away from their families to work," it added.
PhilHealth is a tax-exempt government corporation attached to the Department of Health (DOH) mandated to administer the National Health Insurance Program which provides health care services to all Philippine citizens.
"It is very unfortunate that they call OFWs modern heroes and yet they penalize us with such directives. We urge the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) to reverse this directive as this is unfair and an abuse to our migrant workers," the petition read.
GMA News Online has reached out to PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales for comment on the matter, but no response has been received as of this posting. —KG, GMA News