‘PhilHealth might collapse in 2022’ TMT

‘PhilHealth might collapse in 2022’ Featured

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) might collapse in 2022 if collections do not improve, the agency’s senior vice president for actuarial services and risk management sector warned on Tuesday.

Nerissa Santiago bared that the agency’s reserve fund was almost depleted because of the huge payouts for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.

“We are expecting by 2021, we will be on the red already in terms of actuarial life. In 2021 we will run into deficit. There would be no more reserve fund by 2021. So, one year lang po ang ating actuarial life (our actuarial life will be one year),” she said during the Senate investigation on the alleged widespread corruption at the agency.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon asked her to clarify: “Are you saying that [by] 2022, there’ll be no more PhilHeath?”

To which Santiago replied, “Ah, yes sir.”

She explained that the government subsidy for this year and in 2021 was P71 billion, but that the agency expects lower collection.

“We are limited by the law in terms of contribution rate and we expect decrease in terms of payors,” she said.

Santiago told Drilon that the government had the responsibility to keep PhilHealth afloat:
“We can only survive with additional subsidy coming from the government.”

She pointed out that PhilHealth expects about P90 billion operating loss this year.

“If the Covid pandemic persists until 2021 and no vaccine is discovered by 2021, we will incur about P147 billion in terms of operating loss,” she said.

Drilon noted that PhilHealth suffered a net operating loss of P3.5 billion in 2019. And for the first quarter of 2020 alone, the net operating loss was almost P2 billion.

Santiago said the agency’s actuarial life before the pandemic was more than 10 years.

“How long the system can last given its present state of financial condition? Because my
studies indicate that [PhilHealth] President [Ricardo] Morales admitted that Philhealth would be running a fund deficit in 2020. Is that correct?” Drilon asked.

Santiago replied that PhilHealth was on deficit “in terms of collections and benefit payouts.”

“We’re on deficit if we compare contributions versus the benefit payouts,” she said.
Malacañang gave assurances that the government was ready to provide funds to prevent PhilHealth from collapsing.

In a virtual press briefing, Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. acknowledged that the survival of PhilHealth did not rest solely on its collections.

“As author of the Universal Health Care Law, we have never, even for one minute, considered that the survival of PhilHealth will be solely by reason of premiums,” he said.

“Alam po namin hindi makakamit ang libreng gamot at libreng pagamot kung premiums lang ang panggagalingan ng gagastusin ng Philhealth (We know that we could not provide free medicine and treatment if PhilHealth will only depend on premiums),” he added.

Roque said the government was aware of its responsibilities to support PhilHealth financially for the implementation of the Universal Health Care Law.

“Kung maubos po ang pera ng PhilHealth, gobyerno ang magbibigay ng pondo kaya nga po ang tawag diyan Universal Health Care, hindi medical insurance (If PhilHealth runs out of money, the government will provide funds because it’s called Universal Health Care, not medical insurance),” he said.000
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