Senator Nancy Binay on Sunday thanked the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Commission on Higher Education for their move to repeal the policy requiring students in higher education institutions (HEIs) to have medical insurance before participating in in-person classes.
“We are thankful to the IATF and CHED for taking back the requirements that students in in-person classes should have medical insurance,” said Binay.
Earlier, the senator had urged the government to scrap the policy, which she said was onerous and unnecessary given that all Filipinos are already automatic members of PhilHealth.
Under Republic Act No. 11223 or the Universal Health Care Law, all Filipinos are automatically enrolled in the National Health Insurance Program of PhilHealth.
“It takes humility to admit when one needs to correct things and take a step back. We learn from mistakes and make things better. I am glad that the IATF saw it unnecessary to further pursue the insurance requirement.
The requirement for students to have health insurance was imposed as a condition for the return to in-person classes this year.
It was based on Section H of Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2021-004 of the Commission on Education and the Department of Health which stated guidelines on the implementation of limited face-to-face classes for all programs of higher education institutions.
The IATF allowed last March the conduct of in-person classes for HEIs in areas under Alert Level 1 to up to 100-percent classroom capacity.
However, only fully-vaccinated students and teaching and non-teaching personnel are allowed to participate. But the IATF eventually removed the medical insurance requirement for students attending the limited in-person.
There were no details immediately available on why CHED recommended it in the first place.
The National Union of Students of the Philippines earlier criticized the medical insurance requirement, saying that not all students can afford health insurance and that the national government should shoulder the funds for this requirement instead.