Aquino signs law expanding Philhealth coverage
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III signed a law expanding the coverage of the National Health Insurance to include indigents and the informal sector.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte announced on Friday, June 21, that the President signed RA 10606 or an Act Amending the National Health Insurance Act of 1995.
Valte said the law makes Philhealth coverage mandatory.
Sen Pia Cayetano, author of the Senate version of the measure, has said that under the law, the government will shoulder the premiums for the health insurance of the indigent and informal sectors.
“To ensure that primary health care is available to all regardless of enrollment, Section 6 of the bill which is on benefits mandates that no Filipino shall be denied access to basic health care services. This mandate does not distinguish whether one has paid the premiums or not.”
“The benefit is given to all Filipinos," Cayetano said in her sponsorship speech in June 2011.
Cayetano said the law also aims to ensure lower out-of-pocket expenses for the poor by shifting to a case-based payment from the current fee-for-service arrangement.
Valte said another amendment is including parents as legal dependents of a person with disability, who is a Philhealth member.
The signing of the law came days after the President appointed Alexander Padilla, chief of the government peace panel negotiating with the communist movement, as president and CEO of Philhealth.
Bacolod City Rep Anthony Golez, one of the principal authors of the measure in the House, has said that the law will “revolutionize the health insurance system in the country.”
“The financial barrier is one of the reasons why the poor do not seek the services of medical professionals and health facilities. The Philippines is reported to be one of the highest in Asia in terms of out of pocket expenditures for health services,” Golez said in past media interviews.
The Senate passed the measure on third and final reading in February while the House approved it last year. – Rappler.com