Health care workers in the country must be exempted for a year from the increase of premium rate to be collected by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Senator Manny Pacquaio.
In Senate Resolution No. 429, Pacquiao urged the Senate to call for the suspension of the increase in PhilHealth premium contributions of this sector for the year 2020 as a "token of gratitude" to their sacrifices in combating the disease.
"The first year of the implementation of the increased rate of premium contributions coincided with the advent and continuation of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines," the resolution read.
Pacquiao pointed out that the outbreak "resulted in the disruption of the practice of the health care professionals concomitantly leading to the marked decrease in the income of health care professionals and related health care workers, and to some, even to the closure of their clinics."
"Such a suspension may help these frontliners in a small way, but the recognition and expression of gratitude will go a little farther to support them moving forward," he said.
The increase is pursuant to Republic Act 11223 or the Universal Health Care Law which provides for the enrollment of all Filipinos in the government's health insurance program and mandates a gradual increase in premium rates from 2.75% in 2019 to 5% in 2024.
The Philippines Medical Association (PMA) earlier appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to suspend the payment of PhilHealth premium contribution for doctors and nurses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Benito Atienza, PMA vice president, said the PhilHealth premium contribution of healthworkers, which amounts to around P1,800 per month, is already a big amount considering that hospitals are on a scaled down operation for non-COVID-19 cases, resulting in reduced income.
Earlier this month, the President said overseas Filipino workers will no longer be required to pay premiums to PhilHealth after the impending hike in required contributions triggered clamor among migrant workers.—AOL, GMA News