3, 2013

NR # 3215B

Expanded benefit package of the National Health Insurance Program pushed
A lawmaker has urged Congress to pass a bill expanding the benefits under the National Health Insurance Program in a bid to strengthen the delivery of health care services to the people. Rep. Anthony Del Rosario (1 st District, Davao Del Norte), author of House Bill 74, said the present national health insurance package is very limited and the PhilHealth does not cover the basic needs of health care services like the annual physical check-up. The measure seeks to amend Republic Act 7875 otherwise known as the National Health Insurance Act of 1995. “It has little preventive health care function, the focus is on curative health care, when a patient is too sick to rest at home and needs hospital confinement,” Del Rosario said. Del Rosario said the present health program does not cover outpatient consultation such as psychiatric cases, basic dental and optometric services. “Because of the limited cost of coverage, the health care benefits are not enough to cover expenses for serious diseases, thus, being a member of PhilHealth alone is not sufficient,” Del Rosario said. Del Rosario said a PhilHealth member still needs private health maintenance organization (HMO) membership cards for wider coverage, but HMOs have many limitations too, including the cost of premiums. “It is the State's policy to adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and other social service available to all people at affordable cost,” Del Rosario said. The measure seeks to include health services such as annual physical checkup, outpatient and or psychiatric consultation, dental and optometric service and bigger health care coverage. The present cost of coverage for inpatient hospital care, outpatient care, emergency and transfer services and such other health care services shall be increased to 25 percent of the total charges billed by the health care provider. The measure shall answer the growing needs to make more available, and accessible, appropriate and adequate health care service at affordable and reasonable cost to every Filipino. (30) jsc

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