Press Release
February 24, 2012


Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III has taken the cudgels for members of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) who are strongly opposing the 167-percent increase in their premium payments set to take effect middle of this year.

Pimentel filed Senate Resolution 701 to ask the Senate Committees on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises, Health and Demography, as well as other appropriate committees, to conduct an investigation in aid of legislation on the "huge increase."

The senator stressed there's a need for PhilHealth to justify or, if it could not justify, recall the increase of its members' contribution from the current annual membership premium of P900 to P2,400 effective July 1, 2012.

"Various sectors of the country oppose the huge increase in their premium contributions and criticize the lack of consultation and dialogue" by PhilHealth with its members, especially overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), said Pimentel.

Pimentel noted that for OFWs and self-employed Filipinos, there's already an increase of their annual premium to P1,200 within a six-month "transition phase" starting on January of this year.

The increase to P1,200 was described as a "discounted rate" prior to the higher premium slated in July 2012.

Elaborating on his resolution, Pimentel said the huge increase may not be in keeping with Article 2, Section 14 of the Constitution which states that "the State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them."

He added that the increase may also not be in line with the spirit of Republic Act 7875, the National Health Insurance Act of 1995 which created PhilHealth and instituted the National Health Insurance program.

Pimentel said that under RA 7875, PhilHealth is mandated to provide all citizens of the Philippines with the mechanism to gain financial access to health services.

He said that the State is mandated to provide means to help the people pay for health care services and prioritize and accelerate the provision of health services to all Filipinos, especially the segment of the population who cannot afford such services.

"Simply put, many PhilHealth members cannot afford the huge increase so there's an urgent need to look into the basis of the same under Circular 22, series of 2011, issued by the PhilHealth board last December," said Pimentel.

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