Philippines health insurance membership

Top officials of the Philippine Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) over the weekend assured members of better access to health care through increased health insurance membership.

Dr. Edward P. Banzon, newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of Philhealth, said his agency will ensure that “everyone enrolled in the social health insurance are not just mere members but are informed and educated beneficiaries.”

Dr. Banzon who assumed Philhealth’s top post only on October 17, 2011, made the pledge at a press briefing held at the Philhealth social hall, Kian Seng Bldg. along Flores St., San Pablo City last Wednesday. In that forum, he cited reforms set in place in the corporation’s health insurance programs and policies, which are aimed at achieving universal health care for Filipinos.

He said that reforms and improvements are not only intended to intensify provision of insurance claims for Philhealth members but is part of a unified health insurance intervention in collaboration with the Department of Health.

Dr. Banzon said that to achieve its goals, Philhealth has launched a very important program called “The Case Payment System” initially covering 25 medical and surgical procedures wherein a fixed rate for a certain case shall be applied regardless of the type of facility and length of hospitalization.

The scheme, which is currently being implemented in Philhealth-accredited hospitals and clinics nationwide, gives members exact details of how much shall be deducted from their hospital bills for the treatment of the case or the surgical procedure performed on the patient, he said.

Prior to joining Philhealth last month, Dr. Banzon has gained vast professional experiences in the Philippines and in foreign countries in his private capacities, records show.

Barely over a month in office, Dr. Banzon has already lined up plans that will serve as the roadmap of Philhealth under his stewardship, and even beyond.

Among the plans he has spelled out are the attainment of better access to health care through increased health insurance membership, and the availability of upgraded and accredited health facilities including hospitals, rural health units, tuberculosis centers and other health servicing facilities.

Dr. Banzon said that Philhealth is also working out policies towards financial protection of members so they will not be burdened with expenses over and above the amount paid by the corporation.

Philhealth will also work out the provision of primary health care benefits through the expansion of outpatient services covered by health insurance, he added.

Banzon also cited plans to modernize the system by investing in paperless transactions through information technology and electronics to facilitate faster processing of members’ claims, which, he said, would only continue to pile up in various offices of Philhealth under the traditional manual processing system.

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