STATE health insurance agency Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) welcomes with high spirits and high hopes a new era of reforms in the Philippine health sector as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte finally signed the Universal Health Care into law this week.
“This is truly a groundbreaking development in the health sector. With UHC, no Filipino shall ever be deprived of quality health care based on their capacity to pay.” PhilHealth Acting President and CEO Dr. Roy B. Ferrer, thanking President Duterte, the legislature and the different sectors who worked hard for its passage.
Republic Act 11223 entitled “An Act Instituting Universal Health Care for All Filipinos, Prescribing Reforms in the Health Care System, and Appropriating Funds Therefor” or simply “Universal Health Care Act” seeks to “ensure that all Filipinos are guaranteed equitable access to quality and affordable health care goods and services, and protected against financial risks”. The law guarantees full range of high quality health care services – from preventive to promotive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative – at affordable cost.
It was signed by President Duterte in a special ceremony held in Malacañan Palace on February 20, and will take effect 15 days after its publication last February 21, 2019 in the Official Gazette. After 180 days, implementing agencies are expected to have crafted and held public consultations for its implementing rules and regulations (IRR).
The PhilHealth Chief declared that all Filipino citizens shall be automatically included in the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP). Membership in the NHIP will now be as Direct Contributors or Indirect Contributors. Direct Contributors are those gainfully employed and are bound by an employer-employee relationship, or are self-earning, practicing professionals, migrant workers, and lifetime members, while Indirect Contributors, such as the indigent and senior citizens, shall be subsidized by the National Government.
“We call on our members and stakeholders to attend and actively participate in the formulation of the law’s IRR in the next 180 days.” Ferrer added that there is a need to thoroughly discuss the law with the different stakeholders in public hearings so as to effectively implement the mandates of UHC.