President Benigno Aquino 3rd has signed into law a bill providing mandatory health insurance for all senior citizens nationwide.
Republic Act (RA) 10645, signed by Aquino on November 5, makes mandatory the provision of Philippine Health Insurance Corp.
(PhilHealth) coverage to all Filipinos 60 years and above regardless of their social or economic status.
Currently, only indigent senior citizens are entitled to PhilHealth coverage under RA 7432 as amended by RA 9994, or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.
“All senior citizens shall be covered by the national health insurance program of PhilHealth. Funds necessary to ensure the enrollment of all senior citizens not currently covered by any existing category shall be sourced from the National Health Insurance Fund of PhilHealth from proceeds of Republic Act 10351, in accordance with the pertinent laws and regulations,” the new law states.
As of June of this year, PhilHealth had covered 3.9 million senior citizens as lifetime members, dependents, sponsored or indigents.
Around 2.16 million senior citizens are yet to get health insurance coverage.
PhilHealth, as of December 2013, had 31.27 million registered members and 45.63 million dependents totaling to 76.90 million Filipinos provided with PhilHealth coverage.
In 2013, PhilHealth reported an income from premium contributions amounting to P62 billion, on top of the subsidy of P12.612 billion it received from the national government.
Correspondingly, for 2013, PhilHealth paid P55.559 billion in benefits payment.
It even reportedly benefited the most from funds obtained from the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and diverted to the health sector.
PhilHealth received 44 percent of the total P3.39 billion DAP funds given to the Department of Health.
An estimated 5.91 million Filipinos were aged 60 and above in 2012–accounting for only 6.1 percent of the country’s population.