The Federation of Free Workers (FFW) made an urgent appeal to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. to defer once again the implementation of higher rate premiums for Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) contributions for 2024.
“The low wages of workers have made it very difficult to cope with high inflation. Workers are still lobbying Congress for the proposed legislated P150 daily wage increase, across the board,” the FFW said.
Compounding the economic difficulties, the labor group said, are “the recent hikes in contributions for Pag-IBIG, including LRT fare increases, and rising water rates. Amid these economic challenges, an increase in PhilHealth premiums would add to the burden of Filipino workers.”
Given that the Universal Health Act is still under review by Congress, the FFW argued for a more considerate approach to the premium hike at PhilHealth. It suggested that with its substantial accumulated funds, PhilHealth could potentially sustain itself even without the premium collection for some time.
This year’s proposed increase will see the premium rate go up to 5%, with the monthly basic salary ceiling increasing to P100,000.
The FFW underscored the significant economic pressure already faced by Filipino workers. “With the pending review of the PhilHealth law, considerations for optional OFW coverage, and the need for workers’ representation on the PhilHealth board, re-evaluating the timing of the hike is crucial.”
The FFW called for a balanced approach that takes into account the current economic realities faced by Filipino workers. “We urge President Marcos and the Philhealth Board to defer the PhilHealth premium hike for the time being.”