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PIA Press Release

Recto lauds PhilHealth's move to help members

Manila (20 February) -- Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General Ralph G. Recto lauded the efforts extended by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to help its members cope with the global economic slowdown.

"I congratulate PhilHealth for increasing its benefits to its members. It is very timely, especially that we are facing an economic crunch. It will be helpful to our people, since they would be assisted in their health expenses, alongside the additional benefits and continued assistance, particularly to displaced workers," Recto said.

A component of the ERP is enhancing social protection and assisting the vulnerable sectors. Under the plan, a billion pesos will be added to the 2009 budget of the Sponsored (Indigent) Program of the National Health Insurance Program to fully fund the premium of the sponsored (indigent) members.

"We are encouraging our social security institutions to provide additional benefits for their members. The interventions could be time-bound but targetedólet's say for 12 months or for the duration of the crisis, especially for senior citizensóand aimed at increasing purchasing power. The resources will be taken from the difference between the contributions and claims and benefits," he explained.

The PhilHealth will increase its benefits by 35 percent starting May 1, which will translate to around PhP 7 billion increase in benefit payments to member-beneficiaries. This is PhilHealth's contribution to the government's economic stimulus package.

The agency said that it will also continue to provide PhilHealth benefits for displaced workers by including them in the "sponsored group" of members. Those who would like to avail of this must register with the Department of Labor and Employment, who would in turn coordinate with their respective local government units (LGUs). The LGUs will be asked to contribute half of the worker's PhP1,200 premium fee so the displaced workers can continuously avail of PhilHealth services. (NEDA-PIA XI) [top]

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