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Amid controversies, PhilHealth corners biggest chunk of subsidy from gov’t

/ 04:07 AM October 22, 2019

The controversy-ridden Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) received the biggest subsidy among state-run firms in August, amounting to P27.7 billion.

PhilHealth’s subsidy accounted for 87 percent of the total P31.8 billion granted to government-owned and/or -controlled corporations (GOCCs) that month, the latest Bureau of the Treasury data showed.

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Since PhilHealth also received P1.4 billion in subsidies in May, its year-to-date financial support amounted to P29.1 billion, also the largest given to GOCCs at end-August.

As GOCCs got a combined P96.8-billion, PhilHealth cornered 30 percent of the eight-month total.

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Last year, PhilHealth was also the top recipient of GOCC subsidies with P52.9 billion or 38.7 percent of 2018’s record-high total of P136.7 billion.

In a report last May, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said there had been “minimal releases for the requirements of health insurance premiums of senior citizens enrolled under the National Health Insurance Program” of PhilHealth at the start of the year because “bulk of the requirements of PhilHealth and other GOCCs are scheduled for release in the second semester.”

According to PhilHealth’s website, it had 51.4 million members with 42.1 million dependents as of mid-2019, such that its total number of beneficiaries reached 93.5 million out of the projected 2019 population of 108.1 million.

Last June, the Inquirer reported the scams bleeding PhilHealth dry, including fake members, ghost patients, ghost dialysis treatments, overpayment of hospitals as well as padding and “upcasing” of claims.

According to the Inquirer report, PhilHealth has lost P154 billion from these scams since 2013.

Starting next year, PhilHealth will implement the universal health care program, which was signed into law by President Duterte in February. —BEN O. DE VERA

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