Press Release
July 29, 2009


Sen. Edgardo J. Angara is urging the Senate to pass an amendment to the previous PhilHealth Law to cover the children of poor families. This is in response to the World Bank's report that mortality rate for babies below 5 is three times higher in poor families; 31 out of 100 pre-school children malnourished and 33 of 100 underweight for their age.

Sen. Angara stresses, "Three out of 10 Filipino children aged 12-23 months do not receive proper vaccinations, and poor families usually forgo health care and put their resources on food. This amendment will revolutionize our health insurance system to now cover the most delicate segment of the population--our children."

The bill will amend some provisions of RA 7875 to extend coverage of PhilHealth members to their children through medical, diagnostic, screening, preventive, restorative, remedial, therapeutic and rehabilitative services through the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This is designed to provide the children with regular check-ups, immunizations, prescription drugs, laboratory tests, X-rays, hospital and clinic visits, medical equipment and dental and eye care.

Under this bill, children of low-income families under or over 6 years old are qualified, provided the families live below the poverty line. Similarly, indigent families and their children not enrolled in PhilHealth will be given priority in the use and access to services and facilities of government hospitals and heath care personnel; after which, they automatically become members of the program.

As will be amended in the PhilHealth Law, qualified children of low-income families will be exempt from the monthly contribution. Their contributions will be partially subsidized by the local government unit where they or their family reside. The remaining amount will be covered by the PhilHealth program.

"Before, the poor families just stayed at home when they are sick because they could not afford and have no access to health care; now PhilHealth will make it possible for them to see a doctor and be given proper care. This will fulfill one of the government's priorities in meeting the UN's Millennium Development Goals. Let us make our children not just dependents but beneficiaries as well," Sen. Angara asserts.

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