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DoF warns against delaying PhilHealth premium hike

THE Department of Finance (DoF) said proposals to defer the hike in premiums for members of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) scheduled for 2021 and 2022 will have an “adverse” effect on the healthcare insurance’s fund.

The Bureau of the Treasury’s Deputy Treasurer Sharon P. Almanza made the remarks at a House of Representatives hearing on PhilHealth premiums.

“The Department of Finance recognizes the intent of the deferment of the direct contributors premium… we would like to emphasize the impact of the national health insurance fund. It will have a very adverse effect on the fund and perhaps the fiscal space of the PhilHealth,” she said.

On Thursday, the House Committee on Health approved House Bill (HB) No. 8316 filed by Speaker Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco. The bill gives the President the power to defer the increase in premium rates for PhilHealth members.

“In this particular situation, the scheduled increases are actually statutory,” according to Marikina Representative Stella Luz A. Quimbo, speaking at the hearing. She added that the resort to Presidential intervention proposed by the measure is a matter of “expediency.”

In a December speech, Mr. Duterte called for the suspension in contribution increases.

House legislators are also seeking a suspension, citing the effects of the pandemic.

PhilHealth President Dante A. Gierran said at the hearing Thursday that the agency supports the granting of powers to the President to suspend premium increases in times of national emergency, “provided that the scheduled premium contributions can be adjusted in the years following the suspension.”

The House Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization meanwhile approved HB 8317 which allows the President to suspend scheduled increases in contributions by Social Security System members. The bill was also filed by Mr. Velasco. — Gillian M. Cortez

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