Universal Health Care law ‘to expand’ coverages Philhealth offers the public

ALL Filipinos will automatically be able to avail themselves of free health services once the implementing rules and regulations of the Universal Health Care Act (UHCA), or Republic Act 11223, will be rolled out, an official of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) said.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed RA 11223 into law on Feb. 20, 2019.

Dina Cinchez, Philhealth Central Visayas public information officer, said the UHCA is expected to expand all the coverages their agency is currently offering.

“Everyone can avail themselves of all benefits from Philhealth through the UHCA and eventually, additional benefits as well. All those who will avail themselves of it will automatically get it. We will no longer discriminate based on contribution,” Cinchez said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Cinchez said the UHCA can be availed by two types of members namely direct contributors, such as those are employed, self-employed and Philhealth lifetime members; and indirect contributors, such indigents and members of vulnerable sectors like senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

Unemployed persons can also avail themselves of the UHCA by registering before the Department of Social Welfare and Development and be identified if they are capable to pay contributions or not.

Once rolled out, the UHCA has various benefits such as in-patient benefits, outpatient benefits, primary care benefits, catastrophic or Z-benefits for those suffering from life-threatening ailments such as cancer and benefits that cover the Millenium Development Goals.

A Philhealth member can receive a particular aid under the UHCA depending on the severity of the illness or the reason of the confinement, Cinchez said.

Cinchez said that since Cebu is one of the pilot provinces where the UHCA is being implemented, a special health fund is being provided by Philhealth and the Department of Health to local government units to help roll out the program. (JCT)