Higher PhilHealth contributions starting January 2020

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 29) — The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation will start collecting higher contributions in January 2020, in line with the full implementation of the Universal Health Care law.

The state insurance firm on Friday announced it will increase the premium rate to 3 percent of the members' monthly salaries from the current 2.75 percent. This means a member earning ₱10,000 will now pay a ₱300 contribution, instead of ₱275. It applies to all direct contributors, including employees, household service workers, self-earning individuals, practicing professionals, and overseas Filipino workers.

"The new premium schedule takes effect on December 7, 2019 or 15 days after the publication of [PhilHealth Circular No. 2019-0009]. Its application for employed members will be for the applicable month of December 2019 (which is payable on January 2020)," PhilHealth said in a statement.

The rates will increase by increments of 0.5 percent every year until it reaches the 5 percent limit in 2025, in accordance with law.

"For those earning below the salary floor of ₱10,000, contributions are computed using the minimum threshold; while those who earn the set ceilings/limits shall pay premiums based on the set ceiling. This policy shall also apply to seafarers," PhilHealth said. The current ceiling is at ₱50,000, which will gradually increase by ₱10,000 yearly until it reaches ₱100,000 in 2025.

Meanwhile, self-paying members, professional practitioners and land-based overseas Filipino workers will have to pay contributions on their own, based on a computation of their monthly earnings.

"To ensure accuracy in computation, PhilHealth will require submission of financial records such as latest income tax return received by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, duly-notarized affidavit of income declaration, or overseas employment contract as proof of income," PhilHealth said. Otherwise, they will pay contributions based on the highest computed rates.

Employers will the pay premiums of their house helpers in full if the monthly salary is ₱5,000, in accordance with the Kasambahay Law. If the monthly income exceeds ₱5,000, the contribution will be deducted from the worker's income.

Contributions of persons with disability will be equally divided between their employers and the government.

PhilHealth said the new contribution schedule will help sustain the National Health Insurance Fund to ensure that all Filipinos can immediately avail of benefits during confinement – even those lacking contributions.

However, unpaid premiums will still have to be paid, with interests compounded monthly and penalties of at least 3 percent a month for employers, seafarers, and house helpers. Members who are self-employed, professionals, and land-based OFWs will incur a maximum interest of 1.5 percent for every month of missed payments.

Full implementation of the Universal Health Care law is also set for January, less than a year after it was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte. The law aims to deliver quality, accessible and affordable health services to all Filipinos, mandating that all citizens be enrolled in PhilHealth. According to the Department of Health, 98 percent of Filipinos are already members of PhilHealth’s National Health Insurance Program.

READ: Universal Health Care program to continue next year despite ‘diminished budget’