By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — According to Anakpawis Partylist Cordillera Regional coordinator Michael Cabangon, the increase in the premium contributions of individually paying members and those employed in the private sector is a bad welcome move of the government for the year 2013.
In the PhilHealth Circular No. 057 Series of 2012, employees under a new bracket 1 covering those within salary range P7,999.99 and below will pay P87.50 as share in his monthly premium. Last year, the employee’s share is lower as shown in the premium contribution table: P50 for those in Bracket 1 (P4,999.99 and below), P62.50 for those in Bracket 2 (P5,000 to P5,999.99), and P75 for those in Bracket 3 (P6,000 to P6,999). The three brackets were merged as bracket 1.
Meanwhile, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) condemned the premium increase. The labor center also hit Philhealth’s announcement that the hike was defferred as a lie aimed at deceiving the public. “Despite PhilHealth’s announcement that the scheme to hike members’ premiums has been deferred to 2014, premium contributions of individually paying members and those in the employed sector have been increased, as shown by PhilHealth Circular No. 057 Series of 2012 signed last Nov. 22, 2012 by Dr. Eduardo P. Banzon, PhilHealth CEO and president,” according to KMU.
Cabangon said that it is hard to think that the present administration is making the life of Philhealth members more complicated by raising their premium contributions and at the same time planning to privatize public hospitals. He said how can the raise help the members who mostly are lowly paid workers who will surely have to pay high medical costs because of the privatization.
KMU national chairperson Elmer Labog said PhilHealth is just showing how anti-poor it is by hiking the premiums of the lowest paid employees and of individually- paying members who come from the ranks of the self-employed. “These are the section of our people who are being denied by the government of health and other social services,” he said.
According to KMU, individually paying members’ premium contributions will be increased from last year’s P1,200 to P1,800 starting January this year – a P600 increase per year, or P50 increase per month.
“Is the Aquino government trying to increase its war chest for the 2013 elections at the expense of PhilHealth members? Will big capitalists pocket a section of this premium hike through PhilHealth’s investments in various businesses?” Labog asked. # nordis.net