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PhilHealth ‘will last forever,’ actuarial life until 2027 only an assumption —exec

An executive of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on Wednesday said that the state insurer will last "forever," amid a remark by its chief that its actuarial life may only last until 2027.

In an interview on Super Radyo dzBB, PhilHealth spokesperson and vice president for corporate affairs Shirley Domingo said that the company’s reserve funds amount to P177 billion as of December 31, 2021, “25% higher compared to 2020.”

Domingo said that the estimated actuarial life of PhilHealth until 2027 are “assumptions and projections based on different scenarios.”

PhilHealth officer-in-charge Eli Dino Santos had told the House appropriations committee that the state health insurer’s actuarial life could be extended beyond 2027 with funding subsidies other than the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), which were required under the Universal Health Care law to remit a portion of their funds to the PhilHealth.

Domingo said that the PhilHealth will not be bankrupt because “ we have national government subsidy for premiums of indirect contributors...PhilHealth will last forever.”

She said the national government’s subsidy to PhilHealth is for the payment of indirect members, or those who are not capable of paying premiums such as the indigent population, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities.

“As of December 2021, it was P71 billion. We have huge funds,” Domingo said.

She added that the state-owned firm also collected P172 billion from direct contributors.

“Other funds not being used for benefit payout were invested. Last year, we earned P9.5 billion from investments,” Domingo said.

The PhilHealth spokesperson said that estimating the actuarial life of the state insurer is a yearly evaluation done by the agency.

In a separate statement, PhilHealth “assured its members anew of continuing benefit coverage and reiterated that their fund remains strong to meet its obligations in the long term.”

The state health insurer said it ended 2021 with a net income of P32.84 billion, P2.8 billion higher than the prior year.

“This is after the Corporation has recognized a total of P140 billion in members' benefit claims expense. Its total assets also rose by 27% with a total of P347.48 billion in 2021,” it said.

“As of June 2022, the state-run insurer has a reserve fund of P188 billion, which is 6.7% higher than the P176.6 billion as of end of 2021. Such financial standing is a clear indication that it is financially stable and therefore is in a strong position to sustain payment of benefits in the long term,” it added.

Meanwhile, it said that contributions from direct contributors is one of the state-owned firm’s major funding streams as mandated by the Universal Health Care Law.

“The increase in collection efficiency of contributions from direct contributors, national government subsidy for premium of Indirect members, earnings from investment incomes, contribute to fund sustainability,” said Santos. — BM, GMA News