Press Release
November 19, 2020

COVID-19 impact on PhilHealth finances nil, budget debates reveal

Concerns that PhilHealth is taking a financial hit due to the coronavirus has no basis, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said, after data on its COVID-19-related reimbursements was revealed during the Senate debate on the Department of Health's 2021 budget.

Of the state heath insurer's operating budget of around P140 billion, only P3.4 billion has so far been spent for the testing and treatment of PhilHealth members.

This was confirmed by DOH officials to Sen. Pia Cayetano, vice chair of the Senate finance panel on health agencies, after Recto asked how much PhilHealth has paid for COVID-19 reimbursements.

"If that is the case, drop in the bucket lang 'yan. So yung naririnig natin na ubos na ang pera ng PhilHealth, parang nasa isip lang 'yan, more of a psychosomatic response, but no basis in fact," Recto said.

Recto said PhilHealth's overall payouts may even be lower this year due to lower hospital admissions. "When it comes to seeking medical treatments, people are postponing them. They've become risk-averse. Maraming natatakot pumunta sa ospital."

"There is also a dip in reimbursements from victims of vehicular accidents. Anecdotal pa lang ito. But there is no reason to doubt the observation that less traffic on the roads leads to fewer accidents," he said.

Recto, however, concedes that there might be a dip in the premium payments of private sector members who have lost their jobs, "but these are small accounts in the revenue stream."

PhilHealth, he said, derives the bulk of its revenues from the government, through "regular, predicted and mandated annual appropriations" to place the entire population under health insurance coverage.

For this, the agency got P71.35 billion, as premium payments for low-income household. Next year, it is programmed to receive the same amount.

As of September this year, PhilHealth has a reserve fund of P108.4 billion, and a separate P28.6 billion for lifetime members.

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