Nearly 15-M poor Filipinos expected to benefit from P35-B PhilHealth budget

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A total of 14.7 million poor households will benefit from the P35.3-billion newly released budget by the government to provide “quality health services, especially to the poor and marginalized.”

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The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said in a statement on Sunday that the subsidy will go to the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) or PhilHealth to cover the health insurance needs of poor families identified by the Department Social Welfare and Development’s National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (DSWD-NHTS-PR). “Bringing universal health insurance is still a priority in the Aquino administration’s reform campaign. Central to our health agenda in the country is ensuring that the poorest have access to quality medical and health services,” Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad said.

“We therefore allotted a significant amount for the health insurance benefits of our indigents and their families this year,” he added.

DBM said the 14.7 million families will have health insurance coverage from January to December this year.

“We’ve already secured a list of beneficiaries who are qualified to receive PhilHealth support. The release also allows these families to enjoy health care services otherwise unavailable to them,” Abad said.

“We’re also looking at boosting health security for those whose well-being is compromised by their environments or lack of resources,” the budget chief added.

Formerly under the Department of Health, the P35.3-billion NHIP budget was charged against the 2014 national budget as NHIP is transferred to the Budgetary Support to Government Corp., adjacent to the DBM.

The subsidy will be distributed by the Bureau of Treasury based on actual billings; the number of identified families per region, municipality, and barangay; and the names of each enrolled beneficiary identified.

All poor families identified under the targeting system are automatically enrolled under PhilHealth’s indigent program.

“Our focus on achieving inclusive growth is propelled by our commitment to further empower the less privileged through healthcare and other basic social services,” Abad said.

“To this end, it is only fitting that we extend health insurance to those who need them the most,” he added.

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