PhilHealth to hike contributions for employed sector starting January 2018

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 6) — The country's health insurance service announced on Tuesday that it will increase the monthly contributions for members in the employed sector starting January 2018.

The agency said in a statement that the contribution rate will be adjusted from 2.5 percent of a member's basic salary to 2.75 percent.

It added that the salary floor and ceiling will be pegged at ₱10,000 and ₱40,000, respectively, with monthly contributions still equally shared by the employee and the employer.

For instance, if a member's monthly basic salary is ₱20,000, his or her monthly premium will increase from ₱500 to ₱550, which will be split between the member and his or her employer.

PhilHealth also said the contribution of kasambahays (household help) will be shouldered solely by their household employers, but those receiving a monthly salary of ₱5,000 or above will have to pay their proportionate share.

"We need to respond to the needs of our 100 million-strong membership base, especially where providing financial risk protection against emerging, re-emerging, communicable and non-communicable diseases is concerned," said PhilHealth Interim President and CEO Celestina De la Serna.

"The adjustment in premium contribution rates will provide us with enough fiscal space to introduce more benefit packages, such as offering the Primary Care Benefit package to all other member-sectors, and to enhance existing ones," she added.

De la Serna said the agency's move is based on "sound actuarial studies" and that in the last three years, the agency has not increased its premium contribution rates for the employed sector, but rolled out several benefit packages, including those intended for catastrophic illnesses that required prolonged and expensive treatments.

"PhilHealth have paid billions in benefit expenses and at end of 2016 alone, the benefit payouts have reached ₱101 billion," she said.

PhilHealth said in 2016 that around 14.6 million members are from the employed sector, which include workers in private and government agencies, kasambahays and family drivers.