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Marcos on PhilHealth rate hike: What will be the increase in health services?

President Ferdinand ''Bongbong'' Marcos Jr. wants to see an increase in services following the implementation of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation's (PhilHealth) premium rate hike in 2024.

Marcos has no decision yet on Health Secretary Ted Herbosa's appeal to suspend the enforcement of the increase. The Presidential Communications Office earlier said the President is studying the request. 

''It's all cost-benefit eh. If we increase, halimbawa pinag-uusapan ngayon 'yung increase of contribution ng PhilHealth ng 4% to 5%, sasabihin ko, sige if you're going to increase it, show the other side of that. What will be the increase in services, what will you be able to cover, what more will you be able to cover,'' Marcos said in an exclusive interview with GMA Integrated News' Pia Arcangel that aired on 24 Oras on Tuesday.

He added: ''It's very hard to quantify health. How much is it worth to you? It's worth different things to different people.''

Earlier, Herbosa said he sent a recommendation letter to Marcos, stressing that the move would not significantly impact the state health insurer's financial standing if the premium increase would be delayed.

“If ever the President will agree to the contribution, my recommendation is to start from where we stopped, not the current 5%. If we stopped at 2% or 3% increase, we start at where it was suspended. That for me is the logical way to lift suspension. We don’t jump to a very high [rate] kasi kawawa ang mga tao [We don't jump to a very high rate because people will suffer],” Herbosa had said.

Herbosa said PhilHealth has enough money to actually continue to give benefits. 

''It will not be hurt by delaying the increase in premium,'' the Health chief said.

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

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