Release of P25.16-B for 8.4M indigents’ health insurance OK’d

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

May 25, 2023, 11:06 am

MANILA – The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) will receive about PHP25.16 billion for the one-year health insurance premiums of more than 8 million Filipino indigents, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) announced Thursday.

This was after Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman gave the green light to release PHP25,157,547,000 to cover the insurance premiums of 8,385,849 qualified indigents enrolled in PhilHealth.

Pangandaman approved the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) on Tuesday.

The DBM said the approved fund would be sourced from the authorized allotments in the 2023 General Appropriations Act.

Pangandaman said the fund release is part of the Marcos administration’s effort to provide affordable health care for all Filipinos.

“President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. mandated his Cabinet to ensure that Filipinos are provided with affordable health care,” she said.

Pinamulat sa atin ng pandemya ang kahalagahan ng mas matatag na health care system, kaya’t pinagsisikapan po natin na ilapit ito sa ating mga kababayan, lalong-lalo na po sa mga higit na nangangailangan (The pandemic has shown us the importance of a better health care system. That’s why we are striving to make it more accessible to our countrymen, especially the needy).”

The state insurer is mandated to administer the National Health Insurance Program, which aims to provide health insurance coverage and ensure affordable, acceptable, available, and accessible health care services for all Filipinos.

In February 2019, former president Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act making all Filipino citizens automatically enrolled in the government’s insurance program.

On its official website, PhilHealth states that indigent persons are those who have no visible means of income, or whose income is insufficient for family subsistence, as identified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), based on specific criteria.

All indigents identified by the DSWD under the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction and other acceptable methods will automatically be enrolled and covered under the program.

In April, the DBM also approved the release of a total of PHP42,931,355,000 to cover the one-year health insurance premiums of more than 8.5 million senior citizens nationwide. (PNA)