The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) said Tuesday it sees to have a fund deficit by 2024 based on the current COVID-19 scenario in the country.
PhilHealth President Ricardo Morales said during a Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Universal Health Care (UHC) that the state insurer projects a P40.7 billion for COVID-19 financing it has to cover.
“This is what it will cost PhilHealth to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic for the entire year from February 2020 to January 2021,” Morales said.
“We will be running a deficit by the end of 2020, and we will be maintaining that deficit up to 2024,” he added as he showed a graph of the PhilHealth’s fund projection under the COVID-19 situation.
Morales also revealed that PhilHealth collections are decreasing amid the health crisis.
“To tell you the truth, our collection is about 10% of what it was last year. The collection from the direct contributors is not significant kasi walang negosyo, walang nagbabayad ng premium sa mga direct contributors, and yung indirect that also depends on business activity, has also suffered a downturn,” he said.
“So we are falling back on our reserve, which we anticipate is going to take a hit,” he added.
Philhealth projects fund deficit by 2024
Philhealth chief also discussed the P138-billion proposed subsidy for 2021 to cover indigent members, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and UHC expansion, among others, during the same presentation.
Morales said the Philhealth is also taking a “very prudent approach” regarding the new package rates under the UHC.
He recommended postponing the implementation of the UHC and primary care benefit expansion.
The House committee on health chairperson Helen Tan meanwhile said primary health care services are crucial, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ngayong may pandemic, marami tayong kababayan na hindi nakakakita ng doktor o hindi pumupunta sa health care facilities because of the fear so mas kailangan natin, ang paniniwala ko bilang doktor, mas kailangan natin sa panahong ito i-strengthen ‘yung primary care services,” she said.
“If we have better data, maybe we can start to introduce, later on, the primary healthcare packages, depends on how the COVID-19 pandemic can play out,” Morales responded.