Philippine households still bear brunt of healthcare costs, says NSCB

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Households in the Philippines continue to bear most of the costs in health care while the government pitches in just a quarter of it.

The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) in a statement on Friday said more than half of the country's annual expenditure for health "came from the pockets of households" in 2010.

The money spent on health ran up to 379.3 billion pesos, most of it (298.5 billion pesos) was spent on personal health care, while 40 billion pesos each went to public health care and other health-related expenses.

According to the NSCB's Philippine National Health Accounts, a survey covering four years from 2007 to 2010, households shared 52.7 percent of the total health expenditure while the government contributed 26.5 percent in 2010.

Other private sources, such as health maintenance organizations, private insurance companies, and other private establishments shouldered 10.2 percent while the social insurance and employees' compensation shared 8.9 percent.

The remaining 1.7 percent, on the other hand, came from foreign grants.

But the NSCB noted a downward trend on the percentage of household healthcare spending.

"While Filipino households still bore the bulk of spending for their health needs, private out-of-pocket expenditures showed a generally decreasing trend from 55 percent in 2007 to 52.7 percent in 2010," the NSCB said.

The NSCB also observed that local government units spent more on health than the national government from 2007 to 2010.

Also, donor support was said to have poured in from 2009 to 2010, following a slump in 2007.

With the total health expenditure growing faster than population, per capita health spending at current prices also went up by 316 pesos in 2008, 386 pesos in 2009, and 333 pesos in 2010.

According to the NSCB, it is worth noting that social insurance and the rest of the world were the fastest growing sectors in terms of health expenditure during those four years, but their actual contributions remained way below those of government and private sources.

The PNHA shows how much is spent on health care goods and services, and who is paying for these goods and services. The report is undertaken every four years to guide policymakers.

US$1 = 41 pesos

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