House OKs PhilHealth coverage for seniors

By Paolo Romero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 07 2014 08:24 AM | Updated as of Jun 07 2014 04:24 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill providing for mandatory PhilHealth coverage of all senior citizens that will expand the scope of Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.

The House committee on population and family relations, chaired by Biliran Rep. Rogelio Espina, has endorsed, sponsored and defended in plenary earlier this week House Bill 4593, a consolidation of bills authored by Reps. Angelina Tan of Quezon, Alfredo Vargas III of Quezon City and Jerry Treñas of Iloilo City.

The measure is expected to be approved on third and final reading next week.

RA 9994 limits PhilHealth coverage to indigent senior citizens only.

The bill “aims to remedy this oversight by deleting the qualification of being an indigent in the concerned section of the law and by sourcing the funds to implement this program from the National Health Insurance Fund of PhilHealth,” Treñas said.

Tan noted that the national policies contained in both the Constitution and the Senior Citizens Act clearly provide that all of the elderly shall be given preferential care and protection by the state.

“Being an indigent should not be a requisite for the senior citizens to avail of the mandatory free PhilHealth coverage,” she said.

“The measure will enable all our senior citizens to feel more secure during the remaining years of their lives because of the guarantee that they will have the access to medical and health services when need arises,” she added.

Coauthors of the bill are Reps. Lani Mercado-Revilla of Cavite, Mar-Len Abigail Binay of Makati City, Elisa Kho of Masbate, Anthony del Rosario of Davao del Norte, Leah Paquiz of Ang Nars party-list, Isidro Ungab of Davao City, Joaquin Carlos Rahman Nava of Guimaras, Celso Lobregat of Zamboanga City, Mariano Piamonte Jr. of A Teacher party-list, Romeo Acop of Antipolo City, Nicasio Aliping Jr. of Baguio City. Other coauthors are Reps. Cheryl Deloso Montalla of Zambales, Evelina Escudero of Sorsogon, Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu, Edcel Lagman of Albay, Edgardo Masongsong of 1-Care party-list, Pablo Nava III of Append party-list, Marie Anne Pernes of Siquijor, Eric Singson of Ilocos Sur, Estrellita Suansing of Nueva Ecija, Jose Tejada of North Cotabato, Pryde Henry Teves of Negros Oriental, Randolph Ting of Cagayan, Antonio Tinio of Act Teachers party-list and Susan Yap of Tarlac.