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Saturday, January 11, 2014

OFW's Assail 100% Hike in PhilHealth Premiums

No to PhilHealth rally in Central Hong Kong last August. A group of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) promoting human rights branded as illegal and a burden to local workers the 100% hike in premium fees imposed by the Philippine Health Insurance Inc. (PhilHealth). The earlier premium hike (Php 900- Php1,200) and the latest one (Php 1,200- Php 2,400) have no legal basis. The PhilHealth board recently issued an order imposing 100% hike in premium fees to the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP). This takes effect this month and will affect all members and enrollees of PhilHealth, including OFWs. Earlier, PhilHealth arbitrarily raised its premium from Php 900 to Php 1,200 despite PhilHealth Board Memorandum Circular No. 007 series of 2012, declaring its postponement of the implementation of the premium increase on OFWs "in consideration of the request of civil society and non-government organizations to defer the implementation of said premium in light of the global crisis resulting in the repatriation of a number of OFWs". The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has not issued any circular or order authorizing recruitment agencies to collect the Php 900 PhilHealth membership fee. This has not been amended by POEA since PhilHealth first proposed the increase from Php 900. The militant Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), meanwhile, asked the Supreme Court yesterday to stop the implementation of the 0.6% increase in the premium contribution of the members of the Social Security System (SSS). In its petition, the KMU told the SC that the increase would force SSS members who are minimum wage earners to shell out an additional Php 25 for their contributions. The increase will be implemented this month.
From 10.4%, the new premium contribution by members will be 11%. The KMU pleaded SC to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).        
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