DBM to pay P1.5B overdue health premiums of poor

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 19 2011 03:55 PM | Updated as of Oct 20 2011 07:05 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will pay the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) P1.5 billion premiums in arrears covering 2.9 million indigent families.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the release will be on top of the P5 billion paid in May, completing the P6.5-billion obligations to PhilHealth under the previous administration.

"In support of the President's vision for universal healthcare coverage for all, especially the poor and the vulnerable, we need to settle our obligations with PhilHealth which, if left unpaid, might affect its performance in the long run," Abad said.

Abad said the amount is also part of the P72-billion "disbursements acceleration plan" of government to catch up with spending targets and pump prime the economy.

"More importantly, we have been allocating more public funds to subsidize the health insurance premiums of indigent families."

For 2011, the government has allotted P3.5 billion for the National Health Insurance Program, which will be released after new guidelines have been finalized and issued by the DBM, PhilHealth and Department of Health. The amount will benefit about 4.7 million indigent families as well as 1.4 million informal sector households.

This amount will increase to P12 billion in 2012, benefiting 5.7 million indigent families. Beneficiaries will be chosen using the National Household Targeting System of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.