The Village Connect staff | AFTER three (3) years of continuous roll-out of social health insurance benefit packages without any corresponding increase in premium contributions, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) announces that starting January 2018, employees and employers in the government and private sectors, including kasambahays and sea-based overseas Filipino workers, will be paying a little more for their social health insurance coverage.
Through Circular No. 2017-0024 published last October 27, 2017, PhilHealth announced the upward adjustment in the premium contribution rate for the Formal Sector as part of ongoing strategies to ensure the sustainability of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF). The move is also expected to enable PhilHealth to continue providing its members with the existing health insurance benefit packages, and to introduce more packages, especially for the long-term.
Starting the applicable month of January 2018, the contribution rate shall be adjusted by 0.25 percent from the current 2.5 percent to 2.75 percent, applied straight to the monthly basic salary of employed members. The salary floor and the ceiling will be pegged at P10,000 and P40,000, respectively. The monthly contribution will still be equally shared by the employee and the employer.
The premium contribution of kasambahays is solely shouldered by their household employers, but those receiving a monthly salary of P5,000 or above, will have to pay their proportionate share.
According to PhilHealth Interim/OIC President and CEO Dr. Celestina Ma. Jude P. De la Serna, the premium adjustment is necessary to sustain the provision of all the benefits implemented from the previous years, and to enable PhilHealth to develop new and better benefit packages for its members.
“We need to respond to the needs of our 100 million-strong membership base, especially where providing financial risk protection against emerging, re-emerging, communicable and non-communicable diseases is concerned,” De la Serna said. “The adjustment in premium contribution rates will provide us with enough fiscal space to introduce more benefit packages, such as offering the Primary Care Benefit package to all other member-sectors, and to enhance existing ones,” she said.
Republic Act 7875, as amended by RA 10606, also known as the National Health Insurance (NHI) Act of 2013, allows PhilHealth to collect up to five (5) percent of the employee’s basic monthly salary.
De la Serna emphasized that the agency’s move is based on sound actuarial studies and that in the last three years, the agency has not increased its premium contribution rates for the Formal Sector but rolled out several benefit packages including those intended for catastrophic illnesses that required prolonged and expensive treatments.“PhilHealth have paid billions in benefit expenses and at end of 2016 alone, the benefit payouts have reached P101 billion,” De la Serna added.