Press Release
July 5, 2012

Villar wants Senate to look into hike in Philhealth fees for OFWs

Sen. Manny Villar today pushed for a Senate inquiry into the plan of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) to increase the premium contribution of overseas Filipino workers by as much as 167 percent.

Villar filed Senate Proposed Resolution No. 706 urging the Committees on Health and Demography and Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development to look into Philhealth's plan to increase the premium contribution of OFW members from P900 to P2,400 per year.

"We should really study hard the soundness of moves to increase fees imposed on our OFWs. Ang dagdag na bayarin ay dagdag na pasanin sa mga kababayan natin na malaki na ang isinakripisyo para sa kanilang pamilya at para sa bansa. Hindi naman po lahat ng OFW ay malaki ang kinikita," Villar said.

Villar, founder of the Villar Foundation, said it should also be considered that OFWs work abroad and that there is a slim chance to use Philhealth services in the Philippines.

Kenji Solis, president of the international OFW organization PEBA, Inc. or the Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards, asked the support of Villar in opposing the implementation of the P2,400 annual premium of its OFW members. PEBA was against the hike, saying not every OFW has the means to pay extra for poor Philhealth services.

OFW groups also pointed out that Republic Act 10022 otherwise known as the Amended Migrant Workers Act of 2010, prohibits increases in government fees.

On December 15, 2011, Philhealth issued Circular No. 022 series of 2011 with the subject "New Premium Contributions to the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) in Support for the Attainment of Universal Health Care and Millennium Development Goals" thereby increasing the premium contribution of members. For OFW members, the increase has been deferred from July 1, 2012 to January 2013.

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