Philhealth to explain in Php69.5 billion reserve fund

By Jason de Asis


SENATE OFFICE, Manila, January 28, 2011-The Senate questioned officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), the administrator of the government’s National Health Insurance Program why the agency kept P69.5-billion reserve fund instead of mobilizing it to subsidize the health care expenses of millions of poor Filipinos.


Senator Pia Cayetano, chairperson of the Committee on Health and Demography reminded PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Dr. Rey Aquino of the agency’s mandate to make medical insurance more affordable and accessible to its members while retaining a minimal two (2) year buffer for their projected expenditures in a recent hearing on various health care financing bills, stressing that it is not mandated to the said agency to make their reserve fund bigger explaining that their mandate is to ensure that the poorest of the poor in the country get quality and affordable health services.


Aquino said that the agency’s reserve fund came from members’ contributions, investments and from sponsored programs, which include counterpart funds from government agencies and local government units, explaining that PhilHealth is keeping a large buffer fund since it expects to shell out P40 billion this year for medical payments and P63 billion in 2012, in addition to plans to expand current benefits under the health insurance program.


Cayetano asked Aquino to provide a more detailed presentation in the next hearing on how the agency intends to utilize its current reserve fund, marked at P69.5 billion as of November last year to further improve the PhilHealth system.


To expand the coverage of the state insurance program to include children, barangay health workers, drivers and the informal sector the committee has already conducted two (2) hearings on health insurance bills. The authors of these measures also included Senators Edgardo J. Angara, Loren Legarda, Ralph Recto, Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., Antonio Trillanes IV, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Manuel Lapid, Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr., Manuel Villar, Francis “Chiz” Escudero. (Jason de Asis)


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