The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) is committed to ensuring accessible healthcare through its Konsulta Package program, according to Dr. Mary Antonette Yason-Remonte, the Project Management Team head for Primary Care at the agency. Speaking at the “Health Care is Wealth Care with Universal Wellness” forum hosted by The Manila Times, Remonte highlighted the growing prevalence of non-communicable diseases like asthma, diabetes, hypertension, and cancer, alongside the persistent burden of infectious diseases. These factors have prompted a shift in the healthcare mandate.
To address these challenges, PhilHealth launched the Konsulta package in 2020. This program offers free primary healthcare services to its outpatient registered members. As of 2023, PhilHealth has recorded approximately 103.8 million members. However, with the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law, every Filipino is entitled to health benefits. The UHC Act of 2019 aims to provide comprehensive access to healthcare without imposing financial burdens on individuals.
In line with the goal of achieving overall wellness, Dr. Victoria Lualhati, the chief executive officer of Medical City, emphasized the need to reduce the stigma associated with mental health. Lualhati emphasized that mental health is not a destination but a process, and it is essential to foster a culture where seeking help is seen as a sign of strength. She highlighted the detrimental impact of stigmatizing language, such as labeling individuals as “dangerous,” “crazy,” or “incompetent.” Lualhati clarified that individuals with mental illness pose a threat only if it endangers someone’s life.
To address mental health needs, the Department of Health introduced the new PhilHealth mental health benefits package for outpatient services in 2023. This package consists of two components: the General Mental Health Package, which provides P9,000 per person per year, and the Specialty Mental Health Package, which offers P16,000 per person per year. PhilHealth covers a range of mental health conditions, including dementia, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders.
The integration of mental health support into the healthcare system is a significant step forward in promoting overall wellness. By reducing the stigma associated with mental distress, individuals are more likely to seek help and develop resilience in navigating challenges effectively. Lualhati emphasized the importance of creating a supportive environment where seeking assistance is encouraged and viewed as a strength.
PhilHealth’s commitment to accessible healthcare and the inclusion of mental health benefits reflects the evolving healthcare landscape in the Philippines. With the aging population, unhealthy lifestyles, and the impact of climate change, addressing both non-communicable and infectious diseases is crucial. The Konsulta Package and the mental health benefits package are essential initiatives that aim to improve the overall well-being of Filipinos.
As the country continues to prioritize healthcare accessibility and mental health support, these programs serve as a foundation for a healthier and more resilient society. Through collaboration between government agencies, healthcare providers, and communities, the Philippines can work towards achieving universal wellness and ensuring that every Filipino has access to quality healthcare services when and where they need them, without financial burden.
Source: The Manila Times