PhilHealth commits to expanding services and member benefits

Announcement follows legislative calls for comprehensive healthcare improvements

PhilHealth commits to expanding services and member benefits

Life & Health

By Roxanne Libatique

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) has pledged to improve its service offerings and enhance the benefits available to its members, announced during a recent House health committee hearing.

This move comes in response to House Speaker Martin Romualdez's call for the state-run insurer to broaden the scope of its member benefits.

Bolstering services and offerings

According to a PageOne report, PhilHealth president and CEO Emmanuel Ledesma Jr affirmed the organisation's agreement with Speaker Romualdez's directive, emphasising the intent to “aggressively and continuously increase the case packages of PhilHealth across the board.”

This initiative aims to facilitate easier access to healthcare services for Filipinos, potentially reducing their out-of-pocket medical expenses.

PhilHealth charter review

Echoing Ledesma's sentiments, PhilHealth vice president Eli Santos expressed full support for the review of PhilHealth's charter, as directed by Romualdez.

“We will be able to fulfill and comply with the directive of our Honourable Speaker Martin Romualdez,” he said, as reported by PageOne. “We submit to the directive of our honourable speaker and the committee to focus our resources in safeguarding the health of the populace.”

The charter review will also examine PhilHealth's investment strategies to ensure funds are allocated in ways that directly enhance the health and well-being of the citizens.

As part of its commitment, PhilHealth has announced a 30% increase in the coverage rate for most of its benefit packages starting Feb. 14, with plans for further enhancements.

Other improvements

Recent improvements include significant increases in the benefit packages for high-risk pneumonia, acute stroke ischemia, and acute stroke haemorrhagic. The Z Benefits for breast cancer will also see enhancements effective in March, alongside upgraded coverage for colon and rectal cancers and revised policies for select orthopaedic implants to accommodate the rising costs of medical devices.

Additionally, Ledesma reported that PhilHealth has cleared its PHP50 billion debt to health facilities, fulfilling a commitment made during a House hearing last September.

“It is in line with our promise, and we complied with it,” he said, as reported by PageOne.

Calls for improving Philippine healthcare

In light of these developments, Romualdez has emphasised the necessity for PhilHealth to operate more like a health maintenance organisation, concentrating on safeguarding public health rather than focusing on financial investments.

“With substantial annual allocations from congress and regular contributions from private employees, there is no excuse for PhilHealth to scrimp on coverage. The effectiveness of the universal health care system depends on our ability to provide for our citizens, ensuring they receive the medical attention and preventive care they deserve,” he said.

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