STATE-RUN Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) should immediately settle all its pending obligations to medical institutions, particularly private hospitals, and implement system improvements as it will be receiving a higher budget next year, a senator said.   

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara, who chairs the Senate Finance committee, said government subsidies to PhilHealth will increase to P79.9 billion in 2022 from the current P71.3 billion.  

Despite complaints lodged by hospitals against PhilHealth for delayed reimbursements of claims, Mr. Angara said the higher fund is necessary to ensure all Filipinos are covered under the Universal Health Care law.  

“Universal health care is already a problem to fund even before the pandemic, so we should aim to increase that funding over time to cover the entire country,” he said in a statement on Sunday. 

Private hospitals have threatened to disengage from the state-owned insurer as it failed to come up with concrete solutions for billions worth of unpaid claims before its promised deadline.   

If hospitals cut ties with PhilHealth, this would mean that patients admitted in these institutions would not have their PhilHealth insurance automatically processed.   

“The complaints of hospitals on these slow reimbursements on spendings of hospitals and patients have long been present,” Mr. Angara said in a statement earlier this month.   

“PhilHealth needs to hurry the processing of hospital claims, otherwise we will have systems failure here in our healthcare system.”  

The senator has also called on the Anti-Red Tape Authority to look into the reimbursement problem to see if interventions can be made to speed up the settlement of obligations.  

Mr. Angara said immediate solutions are needed. “In the end, all of these issues, if not addressed, will adversely affect the patients, particularly the less fortunate who will have fewer options for their health care requirements.”  

There are more privately-owned than government-run hospitals in the country, accounting for about 60% of the total, according to data from Department of Health. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan