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Circular hiking OFW premium payments could still take effect after pandemic — PhilHealth exec

As far as the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) is concerned, the circular stating the increase in the premium payments of overseas Filipino workers could still take effect after the COVID-19 pandemic.

PhilHealth social health insurance officer Antonio Danao made the remark on Tuesday during the continuation of the House joint panel inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the agency.

Back in April, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered that OFWs no longer would be required to pay premiums, and that it would only be made voluntarily.

But Danao said that PhilHealth's interpretation of the President's directive was that the voluntary payments would only be made during the pandemic period.

"Ngayon after the pandemic, dahil ang batas ay hindi pa na-amyendahan at yung PhilHealth circular na aming nailabas ay hindi pa na-amend, after the pandemic, magt-take effect pa rin ang PhilHealth circular," he said.

"Yan ang pagkakaintindi ng PhilHealth habang hindi pa naamyendahan ang batas at yung kanyang implementing rules and regulations," he added.

The President's directive came after an online petition on sought the repeal of PhilHealth Circular 2020-0014 stating the increase in the premium payments of OFWs whose monthly income ranged from P10,000 to P60,000 to 3% of their monthly salary starting this year.

The state-insurer said this is stated in the Universal Health Care Law, signed by the President last year.

Under the said circular dated April 16, 2020, OFWs can make payments every three months, six months, or 12 months. For sea-based OFWs, the mode of payment was monthly by salary deduction by their respective agencies or employers.

PhilHealth, in response to the controversy, earlier said it up to Congress to review the hike in OFW premium payments— RSJ, GMA News