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More transparency urged for PhilHealth finances to aid budget preparation

THE COMMISSION on Audit (CoA) needs to release a full report on the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to aid in the preparation of the 2022 budget, a Senator said as the spending plan enters plenary debate in the chamber.

“We at the Senate need to examine PhilHealth’s finances and take that into consideration in the discussions for the 2022 government budget,” Senator Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe-Llamanzares said in a statement Monday.

The CoA report, Ms. Poe said, will serve as a credible starting point for determining the standing of the government-owned health insurer and ensure that funds are effectively used, particularly on the matter of its long-delayed payables.

“We need to know exactly how much PhilHealth owes hospitals and healthcare workers,” she added. “They must be paid soon and government must figure out where to get the funds.”

The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PHAPi) has said that its members are still awaiting PhilHealth payment on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) claims from 2020, noting that this has led some hospitals to consider not renewing their PhilHealth accreditation.

“This will make it difficult for PhilHealth members to reap the full benefits of their membership as they will have to pay for their medical expenses out of pocket and hope that the state health insurer will reimburse them,” Ms. Poe said.

Of the 35,147 COVID-19 reimbursement claims from hospitals in 2020, PhilHealth has settled 10,265, with a payout of P2.5 billion, she said.

The 2019 CoA report, she added, cited concerns about PhilHealth’s actuarial life. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

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