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The Manila Standard reports the government will eliminate PhilHealth and replace it with the Philippine Health Security Office.  Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced the new healthcare program would provide all Filipinos with universal health care. Congress under House Bill 5784 approved the new plan, which will now be called the National Health Security Program.

Full Spectrum of Health Services

According to Roque, all individuals and communities would get the “full spectrum” of health services they need: from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care.

“This includes in-patient, out-patient, and emergency care services encompassing preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative medical, dental, and mental health services,” he said.

House Bill 5784, also known as the Universal Health Coverage Act,  also promises to lower the cost of medicines.

PhilHealth, the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. was created in 1995 to implement universal health coverage in the Philippines.

Two types of Beneficiaries

According to a report from FlipScience.ph, there will two types of beneficiaries in the Universal Health Coverage Act.

  • Contributors, working class members who shall pay their respective premiums
  • Non-contributors (indigents.) Indigents are those whose income falls below the poverty threshold. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and the National Economic and Development Authority fixed the 2015 standard poverty threshold at P12,517 a month, 250 US dollars, 3,000 USD a year. At least eight million Filipinos are estimated to be living under the poverty level.

Roque told a press briefing the contributors would pay their respective premiums, while the national government would fully subsidize the contributions of the non-contributors.

“To receive health benefits does not mean that you are paying the premiums or you are a member of PhilHealth.  You will get benefits because you are a Filipino and it is the obligation of the state to provide health benefits to all the Filipino people,” Roque said.

However, Roque explained the new National Health Insurance Program was not an insurance company since the contributors would pay their respective premiums, while the national government would fully subsidize the contributions of the non-contributors.

Impact on Foreigners

There was no mention in the Manila Standard article as to how the new plan would affect foreigners, whether single or married. However, a report from the Business Mirror reports the following:

The Universal Healthcare, UHC,  bill defines a “beneficiary” as any person entitled to health-insurance benefits under the bill (Section  4[b]) which includes “members” who belong to the contributory group or noncontributory group (whose premiums are fully subsidized by the national government) and whose premium contributions have been regularly paid to the National Health Security Program (Section 4 [z]). Dependents refer to the following:

The legitimate spouse who is not a member.

My Filipina wife is a member of PhilHealth and I’m her legitimate spouse, her dependent. We both are covered under the current PhilHealth plan at a cost of 2,400 pesos a year.

We’ll keep you posted with updates on the new health plan as they become available.

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