Marcos Emphasizes the Importance of Cost-Benefit Analysis for PhilHealth Premium Rate Hike

Philhealth operation and transactions and claims continue through the over the counter method at the Philhealth Mother Ignacia branch in Quezon City. (Photo By: Ismael De Juan)
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In a recent interview, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. reiterated the importance of conducting a cost-benefit analysis before implementing a premium rate hike for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). The President, who was on his way to Canberra, Australia, stated that he supports the increase as long as it brings added benefits and improved coverage for the beneficiaries.

President Marcos Jr. highlighted the need to determine the gains of increasing the contribution rate from 4 percent to 5 percent. He emphasized that PhilHealth has been expanding its services, aiming to reach more people and engage a wider audience. The President cited examples such as the significant increase in payment for dialysis, which has nearly tripled, and the tenfold increase in payment for cancer treatment. These figures serve as indicators of the potential benefits that may arise from the rate hike.

However, President Marcos Jr. made it clear that the decision to implement the increase would depend on the outcome of the ongoing cost-benefit analysis. He stated that if the analysis justifies the increase and demonstrates its overall benefits, the government will proceed with the hike. Conversely, if the analysis does not support the increase, the government will refrain from implementing it. The President emphasized the simplicity of the process, referring to it as a straightforward cost-benefit analysis. He assured the public that a conclusion will be reached soon.

The proposed increase in the premium rate is in accordance with the Universal Health Care (UHC) law enacted in 2019 during the tenure of former President Rodrigo Duterte. The UHC law mandates that the PhilHealth contribution rate be raised to 5 percent by 2024. Originally, a 4.5 percent hike was scheduled for implementation last year. However, due to the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on PhilHealth members, President Marcos Jr. ordered the suspension of the increase as well as the income ceiling hike.

The President’s emphasis on a cost-benefit analysis reflects his commitment to ensuring that any changes in the PhilHealth premium rate are based on careful evaluation and consideration of its impact on the beneficiaries. By conducting this analysis, the government aims to determine the potential benefits that the rate hike may bring to the healthcare system and its users.

President Marcos Jr.’s support for the increase, contingent upon a positive cost-benefit analysis, demonstrates his dedication to improving healthcare coverage and services for the Filipino people. The decision-making process, grounded in evidence and analysis, ensures that the government is accountable and transparent in its actions.

It is important to note that the increase in the PhilHealth premium rate is a significant step towards achieving the goals set forth in the UHC law. By gradually increasing the contribution rate, the government aims to secure sustainable funding for the healthcare system, enabling it to provide better services to a wider population.

As the cost-benefit analysis progresses, the government will continue to engage with stakeholders and consider their perspectives. This inclusive approach ensures that the decision-making process takes into account the diverse needs and concerns of the Filipino people.

In conclusion, President Marcos Jr.’s insistence on a cost-benefit analysis before implementing the PhilHealth premium rate hike demonstrates his commitment to evidence-based decision-making. By considering the potential benefits and impact on beneficiaries, the government aims to ensure that the rate hike will lead to improved healthcare coverage and services in the Philippines.

Source: The Manila Times

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