PhilHealth awaiting Marcos' order on appeal vs premium hike

By GISELLE OMBAY,GMA Integrated News

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on Thursday said it is waiting for the directive of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. regarding the recommendation of Health Secretary Ted Herbosa to suspend the implementation of the premium rate increase in 2024.

PhilHealth Acting Vice President for Corporate Affairs Rey Baleña said they respect the view of Herbosa for pushing for the suspension of the premium rate hike of up to 5%. 

“Pagdating naman sa recommendation ni Sec. Ted Herbosa ay tayo ay lubos na iginagalang natin ang view at pananaw ng ating Secretary of Health ukoy sa bagay na ‘to,” Baleña said on Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon.

(We fully respect the view and recommendation of our Secretary of Health regarding this matter.) 

“Ito naman ay pinag-aaraalan na ng Pangulong Bongbong Marcos Jr. at tayo ay mag-aantabay sa magiging direktiba nila ukol sa isyu na ito.”

(This is being studied by President Bongbong Marcos Jr. and we will wait for his directive on this issue.) 

Herbosa on Wednesday said he sent a letter to Marcos on Tuesday regarding his recommendation, citing the rising prices of commodities. 

As the chairperson of the PhilHealth Board of Directors, Herbosa stressed that PhilHealth has enough money to continue to give benefits to the public, and that it would not significantly impact the state health insurer's financial standing if the premium increase would be delayed. 

Marcos, on the other hand, is studying Herbosa’s request,


according to Presidential Communications Office Secretary Cheloy Garafil. 

The PhilHealth Board was set on Wednesday afternoon to discuss Herbosa’s appeal. 

Baleña said agreements regarding the said meeting have yet to be released. 

“Tayo ay nakipag-ugnayan pa sa ating Board Secretariat sapagkat alam niyo po, napakahaba ng Board meeting. I understand ginabi sila diyan. Tayo ay nag-aanatabay pa ng mga agreements doon sa nasabing pagpupulong,” he said.

(We are still coordinating with our Board Secretariat because the meeting was very long. We are still waiting for the agreements in the said meeting.) 

In a response to GMA News Online, Department of Health (DOH) deputy spokesperson Assistant Secretary Albert Domingo said the PhilHealth Board of Directors submitted their position to the Office of the President after the meeting. 

“The matter of the increase in PhilHealth Premium Contribution was discussed. The Board finished its meeting around 8pm and transmitted its perspectives on the matter to President Marcos Jr,” he said. 

“We defer to the Office of the President for further updates on the matter.”

The scheduled increase in PhilHealth rates is in accordance with the Universal Health Care (UHC) law, which was signed in 2019 by then-President Rodrigo Duterte.

The premium rate was supposed to increase to 4.5% last year, while the monthly basic salary ceiling should have been P90,000.

The law mandates hikes in the PhilHealth contribution rate until it reaches 5% by 2024. —KBK, GMA Integrated News