Celso pushes for old Philhealth sharing scheme PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 May 2012 14:23

Mayor Celso Lobregat strongly bats for the retention of the old Philhealth sponsorship policy to ensure that the city’s over 30,000 beneficiaries of the health insurance program can continuously avail of the coverage.

The chief executive recently attended a meeting organized by the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) in Manila to articulate on Philhealth issues that have been affecting not only beneficiaries from Zamboanga but other cities and areas in the country since the start of the implementation of the new sponsorship policy last January 1.

Among the chief executives present during the meeting in Manila were Mandaluyong Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian, San Fernando, Pampanga Mayor Oca Rodriguez, who is the LCP incumbent president, Isabela City Mayor Cherrie Akbar, General Santos City Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio, Tagbilaran City Mayor Danny Lim, Ormoc City Mayor Eric Codilla, former LCP President and now Ilo-ilo Congressman Jerry Trenias. Also present was Philhealth President and CEO Dr. Eduardo Banzon.

Under the new sponsorship policy, only those included in the list yielded from the National Housing Targeting System (NHTS) survey (done in relation to the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps by the DSWD), are eligible for the Philhealth sponsorship program which will be fully shouldered by the national government. The new policy also mandates the increase of the members’ insurance to 2,400 annually starting 2013 from the present P1,200.

Prior to the new Philhealth sponsorship policy, the annual insurance premium of the members’ were shared by the national government and the local government on a 50-50 percent basis, meaning, the national government subsidizes the P600 while the LGU shares the other P600.

The previous policy enabled the city government to enrol more beneficiaries coming from different sectors which led the Philhealth to declare Zamboanga as a universal coverage area.

Mayor Lobregat said the mayors are opposed to the new policy and are pushing for the continuation of the counterparting scheme and the non-increase in the insurance premium.

He stressed that all mayors are complaining about the new policy as it is unjust and unfair.

Meanwhile, he said, Philhealth President Banzon has committed to bring the matter to the board for decision. The matter should also be tackled in Congress, as the budget for the Philhealth sponsorship program is included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

The LCP during the meeting, according to Lobregat has also sought the support of Cong. Trenias to help the city mayors in this predicament.

On the other hand, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) continues to validate the list of beneficiaries of the Philhealth sponsored program both of the city government and those of the two congressional representatives to determine which among them can be included in the NHTS.
Based on records from the City Social Welfare and Development Office, the sectors and number of beneficiaries of the Philhealth sponsored program in the city are the following: barangay indigents- 17, 308; Rural Improvement Club (RIC)-1, 471; urban poor groups- 3,478; Senior Citizens- 1,190; former barangay officials- 728; Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)- 498; Trained hilots- 103; TB Task Force – 68; Deportees- 35; Child Care workers- 23; Day Care Workers (DCW)- 90; Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS)- 42; Retired Barangay Health Workers- 10; Press Club members- 35; Job Orders- 80 and other sectors- 563. — Sheila Covarrubias