The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) may need to defer its planned premium rate hike in June to allow members whose livelihoods were affected by the pandemic to recover, presidential aspirant Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson said.
Lacson said that while PhilHealth is allowed to raise its premium under the Universal Health Care Act, doing so now is untimely and not advisable.
“It is within the provisions of the Universal Health Care Act to increase, although it may not be advisable at this point in time because we are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic. Baka hindi timely (It may not be timely),” Lacson said at a press conference in Cagayan de Oro City Thursday afternoon.
“Dapat siguro i-defer na muna at hintayin maka-recover fully o somehow to a degree ang economy (It would be better to defer the hike until our economy recovers),” he added.
Under the UHC Act, the premium rates “will gradually increase” by 0.5 percent every year. In 2021, the rate hike was suspended to ease the burden on Filipinos affected by the pandemic.
But Lacson also noted that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) – which account for 99.5 percent of our enterprises – have yet to recover from the pandemic.
Hiking premium rates as scheduled would be a burden to Filipinos who are employed by such MSMEs and those who are looking for work, he added.
“Yan ang sinasabi kong untimely (That is what I meant when I said an increase at this time may be untimely),” he said.