Philippines: Universal Health Care Enacted

Philippines: Universal Health Care Enacted

All Filipinos are covered by national health insurance under the Universal Health Care Act, which was signed into law on 20 Feb 2019. The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) — which administers the country’s universal health care program — will publish implementing rules and regulations within six months of that date. Highlights of the law, aimed at guaranteeing equitable access to quality and affordable health care, include the following:

  • All Filipinos are automatically enrolled in PhilHealth’s National Health Insurance Program, and membership has been simplified — members are either direct contributors (those who can pay health premiums) or indirect contributors (those whose premiums are subsidized by the government). 
  • Under the current PhilHealth system, members contribute 2.75% of their income, shared by the employer and employee, but contributions will increase to 5% by 2025 to help cover the costs of the new law. Late employer contributions are subject to 3% interest, compound monthly. Employers also face fines for noncompliance.
  • All Filipinos will have access to preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative care, with primary care services a priority. 
  • All Filipinos are guaranteed zero copayments for basic/ward accommodations and will pay a fixed copayment for nonbasic admissions in public hospitals. Copayments and coinsurance will be regulated. 
  • The current fragmented local health systems will be consolidated into province-wide and city-wide health systems.
  • Performance-based incentive schemes will be established for health facilities. Health Technology Assessment and Health Impact Assessment will be used to inform decision making.
  • All public and private health care entities will be required to submit health-related and financial data and publish the prices of all health services and goods offered. 
  • Mechanisms will be established to monitor and evaluate the progress of programs, plans and actions.  

Related Resources

  • Act 11223 (Philippine government, 20 Feb 2019)
  • Information on Universal Health Care(Department of Health)
Fiona Webster
by Fiona Webster

Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

Paul Shallue
by Paul Shallue

Principal, Mercer Wealth

Stephanie Rosseau
by Stephanie Rosseau

Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

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