Duque: Amendment in healthcare law needed to defer PhilHealth rate hike

Bonz Magsambol

File photo of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III


PhilHealth's member contribution hike stokes public ire as household finances are affected by months of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said an amendment is needed in the Universal Health Care (UHC) law to defer the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth)’s member contribution hike.

In virtual press briefing on Monday, January 4, Duque – also the PhilHealth chairman – said that its hike in premium contributions will push through and it would be difficult for the PhilHealth board to delay the hike since it is set forth on the UHC law.

“Kailangan po rito ay magkaroon ng amyenda ang batas para mapagbigyan ang kanilang nais na i-defer o idelay ang imposition ng premium contribution rate,” Duque said.

(What is needed here is an amendment of the law so we could grant their wish to defer or delay the premium contribution rate.)

On December 29, PhilHealth said it is “implementing the scheduled contribution rate and adjustment in income ceiling for 2021 to ensure sufficient funding for the heath care benefits of its 110 million members” as mandated by the UHC law.

This year, PhilHealth is implementing 3.5% payment of monthly salary for contribution from 3% last year. (READ: Filipinos to pay higher contributions in 2021)

Table from PhilHealth

Those earning below P10,000 per month is fixed at P350 while those earning P70,000 or higher per month is fixed at P2,450, the state health insurer said. (READ: [ANALYSIS] The inhumanity of PhilHealth’s new fees on overseas Filipinos)

The announcement stoked public ire as they pointed out that their household finances have been affected by months of lockdown due to the raging pandemic.

Anakalusugan Party-list Representative Michael Defensor on Sunday said that the Congress could pass a joint resolution asking for the 6-month deferment, should it be needed.

President Rodrigo Duterte backed deferring the PhilHealth monthly premium hike, said his former top-aide turned senator, Bong Go.

PhilHealth was embroiled in a corruption scandal after some P15 billion was pocketed by its executives.

Several top PhilHealth officials, including former chief Ricardo Morales, are now facing administrative charges. –

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.