|Health Secretary Enrique Ona (second from left) and PhilHealth representatives answer questions from the media during the launch of the state-run health insurance agency's new online services. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines -- Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) introduced improvements in its online services on Tuesday in a bid to hasten the membership process into the government's health insurance program.
In an event attended by media and hospital representatives, PhilHealth formally launched its new corporate website, which allows Filipinos, including those based abroad, to register online for free.
The website, www.philhealth.gov.ph, also lets users view locations of PhilHealth's regional and health offices and accredited hospitals, as well as visualizations of various corporate data using statistical maps.
It also has electronic premium reporting and payment for employers.
"We're using information technology such as the Internet and mobile phone para mapagana sa kabutihan ng mamamayan kapag sila ay nagkakasakit," Health Secretary Enrique Ona told reporters.
PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Enrique Banzon said about P350 million has been allocated for modernization programs for PhilHealth, which now has 27 million members.
Banzon added that they will have a Tagalog version of the website in two months to widen PhilHealth's reach, as well as a mobile service that lets members buy prepaid cards for health insurance, similar to mobile phone credit.
Asked how they have prepared for security issues following attacks on government websites in recent months, he said: "We're bringing in the best security guys, and people from the UP Collee of Engineering…PhilHealth is very much conservative when it comes to privacy of data."
Accredited hospitals, meanwhile, supported PhilHealth's newest offerings, saying that these have given them time and cost savings, as well as more income.
"This helped bring more income to hospitals. Nakikita na rin namin agad 'yung errors. There are less documents needed," said Arnold Gaspar, assistant head of the billing department of the Quirino Memorial Medical Center.