PhilHealth is solvent, can pay claims, says Region 1 official

August 27, 2009 11:45 am 

By Leonardo V. Micua

DAGUPAN CITY, Aug. 27 — The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is solvent and is here to stay and far from going bankrupt

This was disclosed by Dr. Leo Cardona, regional director and vice president of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) in a talk during the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkasters sa Pilipinas (KBP) forum here on Thursday.

“Government will change and administration will change but like the GSIS (Government Service Insurance System), SSS (Social Security System) and Pagibig, PhilHealth will stay,” said Cardona.

He said when he came to PhilHealth in 1999, the agency was only about P21 billion whereas now, after 10 years (ending July), it has grown to over P91 billion, adding that the institution has enough money to pay for claims.

“Under the law, we should have guaranteed reserves for two years. So, what money we have, we must be able to pay the next claims of two years,” he said, adding that last year Philhealth paid P20 billion (in claims).

Cardona said health insurance is something that the people deserve from any government and if something goes wrong with this institution “we (the people) must demand from any administration for the continuation of the program”.

Pangasinan is the model province in the whole country in terms of PhilHealth coverage, owing to increased enrollment in the PhilHealth-sponsored program with the help of Local Government Units and congressmen.

He stressed that all provinces in the region, namely Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte and Batanes are now universally covered by PhilHealth as each province was able to enroll above 85 per cent of the target indigent beneficiaries

Records showed that as of August 15, this year, the number of sponsored PhilHealth beneficiaries, who are indigents and cannot pay their monthly premium of P100, number around 198,000.

He said when he arrived in Pangasinan to assume as PhilHealth regional director, the number of enrollees was only around 75,000 as compared to the number at present which is 198,000.

The proposal of senators to institutionalize PhilHealth with the inclusion in the coverage of even barangay tanods, was already done even long time ago in Pangasinan as the latter are already card-bearing beneficiaries of the program, Cardona revealed.

Region-wide, the number of sponsored beneficiaries now totals 352,000 or 142 percent over the quota in the region, owing to the sponsorship made by provincial governments, city and city and municipal governments and congressmen on some of their indigent constitutents.

In Pangasinan, he said, the district with the biggest number of sponsored beneficiaries in the fourth district of Congressman Jose de Venecia which has over 40,000.

Dagupan, which is in the fourth district, has sponsored beneficiaries numbering some 13,000, both from the city government and Congressman de Venecia.

Coincidentally, it was De Venecia, a former speaker of the House of Representatives, who authored the law that created PhilHealth which, the congressman said, was patterned by him after social welfare program models in some Scandinavian countries. (PNA) DCT/jca/LVM/rma

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