Where will we go? PhilHealth beneficiaries worry over bankruptcy risk

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Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) members have expressed their worries on the impending bankruptcy of the state-run insurance firm during a segment of GMA-7’s “24 Oras.”

The government is expected to provide P136 billion for the indirect contribution. However, so far, Philhealth has only received P70 billion.

There are direct contributors who also fail to pay the premium of the health insurance.If these funds are not given to Philhealth, based on the actuarial projections, the agency may be bankrupt by 2022 according to an official.

“If they give the right amount of funds that we are requesting, then ma-cha-change ang actuarial projections na ito,” Philhealth spokesperson Gigi Domingo explained.

Vulnerable individuals, especially those who are not well-off in life and cannot spend much hospital expenses, will be the most affected when the said bankruptcy happens.

Lolita Rodil, a senior citizen, fears that she might not afford to be confined in a hospital when she gets sick if PhilHealth goes bankrupt.

“Sakitin na ako. Kailangan ko ‘yon (PhilHealth) para pag na-admit ako ng ospital, makaka-discount ako kung may PhilHealth ako,” Rodil said.

[I’m sickly. I need PhilHeath in case I get admitted in a hospital, I will get a discount if I have PhilHealth.]

Annalyn Tercio said she does not know where to go if PhilHealth loses its funds.

“Saan ako kukuha? Edi mangungutang? Mangungutang sa tao eh kung wala sa tao, saan ako mangungutang? Edi hindi ako makakalabas,” Tercio said.

[Where will I get (money)? Through debts? I’ll try to borrow money from people, but if there is no one to go to, where will I get money? I cannot go outside (to work.)]

Earlier, PhilHealth’s acting Senior Vice President Nerissa Santiago said PhilHealth’s actuarial life is down to one year from more than 10 years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a Senate hearing on the alleged irregularities in the corporation, Santiago said this was due to the “decreased collections” and an “expected increase in benefit payouts” caused by the pandemic.

She said the state insurer will run out of reserve funds and fall into deficit by 2021, and that it can only survive through government subsidies.

Also at the same hearing, PhilHealth board director Alejandro Cabading said their funds will not last until the end of the year.

He said existing funds will not even be enough to pay loans should irregularities persist.

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