THE government’s Technical Working Group (TWG) on MicroHealth yesterday conducted the first of its series of public consultations on the Health Microinsurance (HMI) Framework, which will cover all people, most especially the poorest among the poor.
Joselito S. Almario, deputy executive director of the Department of Finance-National Credit Council(DOF-NCC), said the proposed HMI framework is intended to encourage private sector support to the Universal Health Care (UHC) outlined in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP 2011-2016), which safeguards equitable access to health care for all Filipinos, particularly the poor.
Almario, the TWG chairman, said the PDP envisions a National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) that encourages public-private partnerships (PPP) to respond to the current gaps in healthcare risk protection in the country.
The joint press release distributed during the press conference that followed after the morning session stated that the private sector under the proposed Microhealth Framework is expected to complement and supplement Philhealth’s social health insurance packages especially for the low income and informal sectors.
Although 82 percent of the 100 million Filipinos have some form of health coverage, the gap remains wide for healthcare financial risk protection, particularly to the most vulnerable low-income sectors.
Philhealth Chief Social Insurance Officer Maria Cristina C. Ramos said Philhealth provides basic health care packages, but has not covered medical transport, drugs and medical supplies.
Ramos said that with microinsurance, they hope all Filipinos, rich and poor, will be covered.
Almario said microinsurance offers a maximum benefit of P500,000 for a maximum coverage of P40.
The consultations aim to draw together views, concerns and support of public and private providers and practitioners in health and insurance sectors on the draft framework.
The TWG on MicroHealth is composed of IC, DOF-NCC, Philhealth, Department of Health (DOH), the insurance industry and the Association of Health Maintenance Organization in the Philippines (AHMOPI), with the support from German Development Cooperation (GIZ).
The GIZ, through its regional program on microinsurance, the Regulatory Framework Promotion on Pro-poor Insurance Markets in Asia (GIZ-RFPI), is providing technical and financial support.
Almario said microinsurance responds to the financial risk protection needs of the low-income and informal sectors. While the products have affordable premiums, the benefits that correspond to the risks and claims settlement is fast.
Ferrer said the MicroHealth framework is envisioned to augment the UHC program through a viable and sustainable private sector microinsurance industry.
Ferrer said Microhealth is expected to provide every Filipino greater coverage and wider access to simple, affordable, appropriate and effective health microinsurance products and services.