30,000 families in Cebu get free PhilHealth coverage

25 April 2011

By Anna Valmero

CEBU CITY, CEBU--Some 30,000 poor families from 80 barangays in Cebu City have been sponsored by the local government to avail benefits from the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) for this year.

Mayor Michael Rama instructed the City Social Welfare Services (CSWS) to identify the qualified recipients for the sponsorship. Priority is given to 2,887 beneficiaries of the “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program” or (4Ps) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The priority families are those with income of P3,500 each month, said Health Secretary Dr. Enrique Ona. This is to prevent “out-of-pocket” costs when availaing of healthcare, Ona said in an earlier report.

“The city government's sponsorship intends to cover poor families in every barangay,” said Mayor Rama.

“Preventive care should be made accessible to the poor. PhilHealth's outpatient benefit package for sponsored members covers primary consultations with general physicians and laboratory fees for chest X-ray, complete blood count, fecalysis, urinalysis and sputum microscopy,” said PhilHealth vice president for Region VII William Chavez.

Chavez welcomed the city government's decision to partner with PhilHealth in providing access to health care for the poor, in line with President Benigno Aquino III's flagship program on universal health care.

Under the partnership, the national government and a local government in a highly urbanized city like Cebu will each shoulder half of the P1,200 annual premium for indigent families.

The P1,200 premium is the same that individually paying or self-employed members are availing. (For steps on how to enroll as individually paying member, click here.)

Under the PhilHealth law, LGU sponsores will get an incentive in the form of “capitation” for enrolling poor constituents. This means LGUs are paid back P300 per sponsored family each calendar year so that it can provide PhilHealth's outpatient primary consultation and diagnostic benefit package for free.

The incentive will be given provided there is an accreditated rural health unit or health center to offer the benefit package.

Initially, Cebu City is working for the the accreditation of one of its health centers as provider of the outpatient benefit package and over time, 12 other health centers as lying-in clinics for maternity care, Rama said.

Once accredited, all members availing themselves of prenatal, normal spontaneous delivery and postnatal services in the center can avail up to P6,500 in health insurance coverage.

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