The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) released a new premium rates for its employed members . This is in accordance to the Universal Health Care Act or R.A. No. 11223.
The premium rate is increased to 3% compared to the 2.75% in 2019. And, will be then adjusted to increments of 0.5% every year until it reaches the limit of 5% in 2025 as provided by the law.
The income floor is fixed at PHP 10,000 for 5 years. Then, the salary ceiling will gradually increase by PHP 10,000 each year until it reaches PHP 100,000 in 2025. With the rate increase, it said to sustain the National Health Insurance Fund as well as other health programs. Furthermore, it also aims to aid more underprivileged Filipinos.
The new premium rate took effect last December 7, 2019, 15 days after the publication of PhilHealth Circular 2019-0009.
EXAMPLE OF A PREMIUM COMPUTATION
For those earning below the salary floor, contributions are computed using the minimum threshold. On the other hand, for those who earn the set salary ceiling or more will pay based on the set ceiling.
For example, if an employed member who is earning PHP 7,000 a month the monthly premium is at PHP 300. He will pay half of the amount (PHP 150) while the other half will be paid by his employer. This is based on the new premium rate of PhilHealth (see table above).
For an employed member who is earning PHP 65,000 a month the monthly premium is at PHP 1,800. He will be paying half of the amount (PHP 900), and half will be shouldered by his employer.
However, for members who do not have a direct employer they will have to pay the whole premium amount. These may be a self-earning individual, practicing professional, or OFWs.
IMPLICATION OF THE INCREASE
As a result of the increase, a petition in Change.org titled “Remove Philhealth Mandatory 3% Premium Payment from OFW’s salary” was started by the OFWs. The president has then ordered PhilHealth to suspend collections of higher premium and to make payments mandatory for these OFWs.
Although there is a good reason for the increase in premiums but not all members would be able to pay. There are some members, self-earning individuals, who doesn’t earn that much. Some members do not have permanent job as well.
It would have been great if a member can opt to pay voluntarily. And, can select the premium bracket to pay based on the amount he can afford. Of course, benefits would depend on the bracket.
If PhilHealth could come up with a way that is less burdensome in the pocket of its members, then more would opt to pay their premiums.