PhilHealth Contribution Schedule for 2020 Changed with Universal Health Care Act

Photo by ILO Asia-Pacific (Creative Commons)

With the passage of the Universal Health Care Act of 2019, Filipinos should expect better health care coverage from PhilHealth. This law basically aims to provide health care services to all Filipinos at affordable costs.

It's a known fact that health problems are a burden to most Filipinos because of prohibitive costs. And although PhilHealth has been around for a while to alleviate some of that costs, not everyone is covered. The main reason for that is because the poor is not able to contribute especially when they are not employed or earn a meager income from their livelihoods to bother getting coverage.

Universal coverage is a laudable aspiration. Even the US with their Obamacare law has struggled to provide coverage for all Americans. The Philippine government, which is a poor country by comparison, should be commended for this goal. The main beneficiaries are the less fortunate. The rich can pay for hospitalizations but those with low income oftentimes had to beg politicians for help.

Getting all Filipinos covered is one thing, but the degree to which PhilHealth actually pays for expensive hospitalizations is another matter. If the amount covered is not going to be significant, poor Filipinos will still not be able to afford critical procedures and treatments.

To achieve the goal for universal coverage, many members of PhilHealth will not be happy to know that their contribution will be in an upward trend for the next 5 years until 2025. PhilHealth circular 2019-0009 is clear on why this is the case because according to it,

This social health insurance program serves as a means for the healthy to help pay for the care of the sick and for those who can afford medical care to subsidize those who cannot.

The table below shows how you can calculate your new PhilHealth monthly contribution amount. Employers in the Philippines will cover half of the amount with the employee paying for the other half. While direct contributors such as OFW's will need to shoulder the entire cost.

Take note that prior to this law, monthly contribution was just 200 pesos for a total annual premium of 2400 pesos. For those whose salary are over the ceiling prescribed in the table above, their contribution will go up to 1800 pesos per month this year 2020. That amount will continue to go up until it reaches 5% of 100K pesos or 5000 pesos per month by 2025.

Some has already expressed their frustration with this new law and vowed to punish the politicians who enacted it. Understandably this is an additional  burden and would take disposable income away from working Filipinos.

However, I believe that the real test of whether it will be praised or denounced is whether it will be effective and helpful in ensuring universal coverage at affordable cost to Filipinos. When there are significantly less cases of financial ruin or poor Filipinos struggling to cope with medical bills, the sacrifices of working Filipinos would have been worth it.

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