PhilHealth budget for 2022 short of P30 billion: Duque

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 24 2021 07:00 PM

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III attends a House hearing on August 28, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III attends a House hearing on August 28, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File


MANILA - The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation's (PhilHealth ) share in the 2022 national budget will be short by P30 billion compared to the Department of Health’s original proposal. 

At a House panel hearing on Tuesday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told lawmakers they originally proposed a P110 billion budget for PhilHealth in 2022, but only P80 billion was approved in the President’s budget. 

“So there is a deficit of about P30 billion," Duque said. 

According to the Special Provision on PhilHealth in the 2022 National Expenditure Program, P79,929,726,000 will be appropriated for the subsidy of the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP). 

It will be used for the health insurance premiums of indirect contributors composed of the following: 

  •  indigents under the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction as identified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development
  •  senior citizens pursuant to Republic Act No. 10645
  •  unemployed persons with disability, jointly determined by the DOH and the National Council on Disability Affairs
  •  financially-incapable point-of-service patients as identified by the DOH

According to Duque, about 87-88% of 109 million Filipinos are covered by PhilHealth, despite the mandate of the Universal Health Care law that there should be 100% coverage. 

PhilHealth's reserve fund balance currently stands at P140 billion, officials said.

The Philippine Hospital Association earlier Tuesday said the state insurer owes member-hospitals an average of P7 million each.

PhilHealth, however, said it only owes P12.9-billion worth of claims to hospitals.

But the P86 billion is the total amount that hospitals spent on patients without reimbursement from PhilHealth, said PHA president Dr. Jaime Almora.

PhilHealth owes hospitals some P13.6 billion in denied claims, with P13 billion to P16 billion in-process claims, and P46 billion Return to Hospital (RTH) claims, he added.

The state insurer was marred by a corruption scandal last year, involving its officials including Duque, who sits as its board chairman.

Whistleblowers alleged that several PhilHealth officials pocketed P15 billion in state funds, and approved the request of overpriced projects and fund releases to some hospitals. 

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