I agree that PhilHealth, as the implementer of the NHIP, should continue providing FP to all Filipinos by reimbursing claims. PHILHEALTH SHOULD NOT DENY CLAIMS JUST SO IT CAN PRESERVE FUNDS and have a longer actuarial life. IMHO, PhilHealth’s role as a strategic purchaser of healthcare services/goods is the fulcrum that balances the health and economic effects of the pandemic. Our SHI protects Filipinos against financial hardship in almost the same way as it protects hospitals from bankruptcy.
Studies in the past (see attached) suggest that in times of economic crisis, the following are likely to occur:
- Massive unemployment which leads to a decrease in premium contributions. This, in turn, leads to decreased funds for the SHI.
- Because of decreased household income, there is a tendency for families/patients to either (a) reduce expenditure by reducing healthcare utilization (we do not want this during a pandemic) or (b) choose cheaper providers (such as government-run institutions).
- Private institutions do not have the incentive to increase hospital charges because this may lead to a further decrease in demand. They turn to SHI for revenue which may explain later on why there will be an abrupt increase in benefit claims in PhilHealth.
What’s striking among these studies is the fact that central governments provided financial support to their struggling SHIs. SHIs, should NOT rely on premium contributions to finance healthcare, especially during an economic crisis. Relying on premiums alone is detrimental to the survival of the NHIP because, as said earlier, there is a precedented decrease in premium contributions. Our government should provide the necessary financial support to PhilHealth in order for it to survive post-pandemic. After all, it has borrowed billions from external funders. Taxes and other sources of revenue may also be repurposed or realigned to achieve this goal.
I cannot accept our congressmen’s resentment towards PhilHealth for having an alleged two-year actuarial life. Our honorable congresspeople should face the fact that the pandemic, and the government’s poorly informed (almost always politically-driven) decisions, have led us to this situation.
I empathize will all Filipinos who are suffering from the consequences of these ill-informed, political decisions.