PhilHealth suspends collection of contributions: President Duterte issues new directives on OFW premium hike

Image via Philippine Health Insurance Corporation | Facebook | Image via Presidential Communications | Facebook
  • President  Rodrigo Duterte suspended the premium hike on OFW PhilHealth contributions
  • He also issued a new directive to make their contribution voluntary
  • Philhealth mulls to extend the moratorium deadline because of the latest developments

Following the rage from overseas Filipino workers on the premium hike on their contribution plus a petition at Chang.org, the Philippine Healthcare Insurance System said on Monday that it has temporarily suspended all its collections.

Image via Philippine Health Insurance Corporation | Facebook

President Rodrigo Duterte has also given a directive to suspend the new premium rates due to OFWs because of the crisis that we are facing. Spokesperson Harry Roque relayed that while we are now in an emergency, the president decided not to add burden to our OFWs, especially that many of them have lost their jobs.

Additionally, the president ordered PhilHealth that the premiums of OFWs be made voluntary.

Roque also clarified that non-payment of the contribution does not exempt a member from availing the benefits as mandated by law.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III also took action to suspend Section 10.2.C of the IRR of the UHC Law, which pertains to the 3% salary based premiums for OFWs.

He said in his tweet on Monday, “I call for the suspension of Section 10.2.C of the IRR of the UHC Law in light of COVID-19 and its economic impact on OFWs. We will recommend this to PhilHealth for their action.”

Image via Francisco Duque III | Facebook

Furthermore, he also waived the requirement for OFWs to present proof of income before they can be issued with an overseas employment certificate (OEC).

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration clarified that it does not anymore compel OFWs to pay their premium to have their OEC.

Earlier today, PHIC President Ricardo Morales said in a DZMM interview, “May moratorium tayo sa collection. Obviously, paano kokolektahin iyon kung walang suweldo ang tao.” He also added that they will prioritize this emergency and no computation will be done for now.

Image via Philippine Health Insurance Corporation | Facebook

However, with the new directives from the president and the health secretary, PhilHealth is planning to extend the previously communicated moratorium deadline, which was May 30.

Recently, OFWs objected to the newest PhilHealth contribution requirement of 3% of the salary for those earning P10,000 to P60,000 this 2020. That is a 0.25% increase from the previous year. Based on the law signed by President Duterte February of last year, there is a 0.5% increase in the contribution starting 2020 until the target of 5% is achieved until 2024. This premium hike also applies to all direct paying members like the self-employed and self-paying individuals.

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