Friday, 21 October 2011 10:56
The government has started its P72-billion accelerated spending program with the release of P1.5 billion for the payment of premium arrears of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said on Wednesday President Benigno S. Aquino III has ordered the release of the fund to pay the premium arrears of 2.9 million indigent families.
He said the amount enabled the government to fully pay its P6.5 billion unpaid obligations, which was incurred under the previous administration.
The national government remitted only P3.85 billion to the PHIC from 2007 to 2010, but the supposed total government counterpart payment was P10.35 billion, thus the P6.5 billion balance.
“In support of the President’s vision for universal healthcare coverage for all, especially the poor and the vulnerable, we need to settle our obligations with PHIC which, if left unpaid, might affect its performance in the long run,” Abad said.
He stressed that the Aquino administration has “been allocating more public funds to subsidize the health insurance premiums of indigent families.”
For this year, the government has allocated P3.5 billion for the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP), which will only be released after a new guideline has been finalized and issued by the DBM, PhilHealth and the Department of Health (DOH).
The DBM chief said the NHIP budget for this year will benefit about 4.7 million indigent families as well as 1.4 million informal sector households.
He said that under the proposed national budget for next year, NHIP would be allocated P12 billion to increase the number of beneficiaries to 5.7 million indigent families and provide them with wider healthcare coverage.
He said the beneficiaries will be chosen from the identified indigents under the National Household Targeting System being used by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in identifying and reaching indigent and informal sector households.
By Joann Santiago-PNA/PIA9-ZBST
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