THE Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) will hire 600 nurses nationwide to provide customer care to members and dependents who seek treatment in accredited hospitals.
In a press conference yesterday, Dr. Eduardo Banzon, chief executive and president of PhilHealth, said the plan will still be finalized and approved by the board of directors in a couple of months.
“We make sure that the members will be provided assistance,” Banzon said.
PhilHealth has yet to draft a compensation package for these contractual nurses.
“This is also our way of helping our nurses. Although we will only hire 600, at least we are able to help,” Banzon said.
PhilHealth will first assign them in big hospitals in the country and each hospital will have one “PhilHealth Care” nurse.
“We prioritize big hospitals and level 2 hospitals,” he said.
Banzon cited the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) as an example of a level 2 hospital in Cebu.
PhilHealth solicits the cooperation and support of the hospitals and local government units (LGUs) for the success of the project.
Also PhilHealth is offering long-term membership at lower premium rates to beneficiaries sponsored by the local government units.
Banzon said the membership of these LGU-sponsored beneficiaries that expired last Dec. 31 will be automatically extended to March 31 this year.
Banzon said they are offering long-term memberships at a lower rate to LGU-sponsored members.
The annual premiums are supposed to increase to P2,400 starting July 1 this year from P1,200 last year.
“We are offering P1,200 as long as you sign up for two years. You could pay within the two-year period. LGUs should be investing in health insurance in a long-term basis,” Banzon told Cebu Daily News.
Banzon is also pushing for universal insurance and “no-balance billing.”
No-balance billing means PhilHealth members who are confined in a hospital ward will not pay anything. “We are mandated to push universal PhilHealth membership,” Banzon said.
Banzon said one of the biggest challenge they are facing is getting the poor enrolled with PhilHealth.
“To face up this challenge, we need the help of the LGUs. We will make sure that beneficiaries will get their benefits,” Banzon said.
PhilHealth benefits include 50 to 60 percent discount in hospitalization expenses, discounted or free laboratory exams and outpatient benefits.
PhilHealth recognized Mandaue City for achieving a universal coverage of its indigents. The Mandaue city government has enrolled 25,000 indigent families, including trisikad drivers. /CORRESPONDENT RHEA RUTH V. ROSELL