Jun 212013
President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday signed into law a bill ensuring PhilHealth coverage to all Filipinos, including indigents and persons with disabilities, Malacañang announced Friday.

Republic Act 10606, or the National Health Insurance Act of  2013, amends Republic Act 7875 or the National Health Insurance Act of 1995.

“Iyong Section 6 ng dating batas, inamiyendahan din po ito. Iyong coverage po nito ay ngayon mandatory na,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said at a briefing.

Section 6 of RA 7875 said enrollment to the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) “shall not be made compulsory in certain provinces and cities” until such a time that the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation “shall be able to ensure that members in such localities shall have reasonable access to adequate and acceptable health care services.”

The new law provides that all citizens of the Philippines, regardless of social and economic status, shall be covered by NHIP.

According to the new law, “the Program shall be compulsory in all provinces, cities and municipalities nationwide, notwithstanding the existence of Local government unit-based health insurance programs.”

PhilHealth lauded the passage of the law, calling it proof of the government’s commitment to the health of all Filipinos.

“Mas naging malinaw or may emphasis na the state shall provide a comprehensive health care service for its citizens,” said Greg Rulloda, PhilHealth’s vice president for corporate affairs.

“The law emphasized rin that the state will prioritize the healthcare needs of the underpriviledged, the elderly and persons with disabilities,” he added, noting that even the informal sector, or those who are not regularly employed, can avail of benefits.

“Ang informal sector pwede na makakuha ng Philhealth. Yung  doon sa old law, self employed lang. Sa Section 28 nakalagay specific ‘yung contributions from members in [the] informal economy. Contribution from informal econoy shall be based on household earnings and assets,” he added.

However, Rulloda clarified that the new law is not the Universal Health Care law, but rather one of its components.

“This is not the universal health care law. This is just a part of it. Ang universal health care tatlo ang compositon—health financing, upgrade facilities and responsive health system,” he said. — with Teresa Andrada/KBK, GMA News

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