The Philippine Health Insurance Corp., commonly known as PhilHealth, may need to revise its coverage as the state-run company struggles to pay off its debt, the government’s chief economic manager said.


Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that PhilHealth’s massive spending to settle billions of pesos worth of benefits claims is unsustainable, saying this level of expenditures is only good for “several years.”

“If it goes on for five years, I’m telling you, everybody has to change their lifestyles,” Dominguez, who is also an ex-officio member of the PhilHealth board, told reporters.

The finance chief disclosed that PhilHealth is now “struggling with their own systems to pay off their current debts” after contributions dwindled while expenses increased amid the pandemic.

PhiHealth incurred a P25.5 billion deficit as of June this year despite the national government’s “ample” subsidy amounting to P44.6 billion during the period, Dominguez said.

But despite the hefty deficit, the Cabinet official said that PhilHealth “So far, I believe they can handle the situation” owing to its P164.1 billion in reserve fund.

Allowing PhilHealth to collapse due to runway debt and spending is not an option, Dominguez said, but “what will happen is some of the coverage might change.”

Dominguez declined to give further details about the possible changes in coverage, but he noted that “things changed. We better get used to it.”

“Moaning and groaning for 2019 is not going to help, you just have to change. It [COVID-19] is an accident that happened, it’s bad. But you know, at least the factors of production, our people are still there, our factories, pent up demand is still there,” he said.

PhilHealth has also sought the Insurance Commission (IC) for an actuarial audit.

“IC has come out with a preliminary report on PhilHealth and they are in discussions again with PhilHealth board and PhilHealth management on their findings. This is the first time ever that IC has examined government institutions,” Dominguez said.

“I leave that to IC to release when they are ready to release their findings and of course we will not publish it until all the board members of PhilHealth are also aware of those findings,” he added.

Asked if the preliminary actuarial audit result was adversarial to PhilHealth, Dominguez said “as most institutions, some things are good and some things are bad.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (