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Lawmakers back PBBM move to halt PhilHealth hike

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Senate President Migz Zubiri and Senators Bong Go and Nancy Binay aired their support to the decision of support President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to suspend the increase in Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) premium rates and income ceiling for this year.

Zubiri commended the President’s move and said this would ease up the burden of the general population in these difficult times coming out of the pandemic.

Malacañang earlier released a memo asking PhilHealth and the Department of Health to suspend the increase of monthly contributions from its members.

The increase was originally set under the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act, which mandates a gradual increase in premium rates from 2.75 percent in 2019 to 3.5 percent in 2023 and eventually 5 percent in 2024.

“The premium rate hikes may be established after we have brought down our inflation rate at a more comfortable level in the near future. Once again, we thank the President for this as this will allow a larger take home pay for all salaried workers for the meantime,” Zubiri said.

As chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Go said he sees no reason why this will adversely affect the various benefits and services to be provided by PhilHealth to its members. At the same time, he renewed his call to Philhealth to give services due to its members, especially for indigents.

Binay meanwhile said under the UHC Act, there is a yearly increase in member premiums by 0.5% starting 2021 until it reaches the 5% limit in 2025. “We also understand the situation of our people esoeically those who were directly affected by the pandemic,” Binay said. “So this suspension of a premium hike is a huge help,” she added.

House Deputy Minority leader and ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro on Tuesday also welcomed the deferment of the PhilHealth hike.

“This is good but I think we can cite the same reason to also defer the premium hikes of the Social Security System (SSS) and the Home Development Mutual Fund, or Pag-IBIG Fund. Inflation is still rising, with the first week of 2023 ushering in a big time oil price hike and

a staggering increase in water and power rates,” Castro said.

Castro also appealed to Malacanang “to write or order the board of directors of the SSS and PAGIBIG to defer their contribution hikes because Filipino workers need every peso that they earn to feed their families now.”

While the SSS starting January 1, 2023, the new contribution rate will be at 14 percent, up one percentage point from 13 percent, and the PAGIBIG fund is set to increase its rates from P100 to P150 this year unless their boards or Malacanang moves to suspend the increases.


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