Press Release
September 7, 2012

5.3 million poor to get full health insurance premium, says Drilon

For some 5.3 million poor families who cannot afford to seek even basic medical care, the proposed P2.006-trillion 2013 national budget has allocated P12.61 billion to give them access to a totally free medical treatment, according to Senate Finance Committee chairman Franklin M. Drilon.

Drilon explained the government will fully subsidize the health insurance premium of 5.3 million indigents identified in the National Household Targeting System being used to identify and reach indigent and informal sector households.

"The 2013 budget provides for P12.61 billion to secure the enrollment of about 5.3 million families in Philhealth at P2,400 per annum per family. The beneficiaries can reach up to 20 million or even more for the Philhealth card can be used by the principals' spouse and their minor children," said Drilon.

"The government will fully pay the health premiums of indigent patients to widen their access to proper medication. It is disturbing to know that, in this modern day, there are still a great number of Filipinos who do not have access to immediate health care," said Drilon.

He added that indigent patients can be freed from the financial worries with the new Philhealth case rates payment scheme already in place which provides for a no-balance billing policy for 23 medical cases which include, among others, dengue, pneumonia, asthma, typhoid fever, and appendectomy.

Drilon also explained that the Department of Justice opinion in March 2012 authorizing the use of P8.3 billion by the government to fully subsidize the Philhealth premiums of indigent patients for the current year will still be in effect in the 2013 budget.

Under the 2012 General Appropriations Act, the full release of national government full premium subsidy was subjected to the issuance of a DoJ opinion stating that the move to fully subsidize the health premiums of indigent patients will not violate the National Health Insurance Act, noted Drilon.

It can be recalled also that Senator Drilon moved last year to strike out a budgetary provision that sought the passage of an amendment in the said Act before this full NG premium subsidy could be implemented, saying "that Act does not hinder the government to provide full subsidy for premium contributions of indigents and the provision being proposed then was contrary to the primary intent of the law."

"The provision of a health insurance to the poorest Filipinos is consistent with the government's goal to implement the Universal Health Care. That is the very reason why I proposed the deletion of a budgetary provision in the 2012 budget saying an amendment to the National Health Insurance Act is necessary before the government can fully subsidize the health premiums of indigent families," ended Drilon.

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