Gov't subsidizing PhilHealth but agency must improve information system, DOF chief says
The national government has earmarked about P80 billion to embattled Philippine Health Insurance Corp. this year, the Department of Finance said on Thursday.
While the government has been subsidizing PhilHealth, in a virtual press briefing, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the state-run agency should improve its information system to get a better grasp of its liabilities and actuarial life.
A PhilHealth executive admitted earlier in a Senate investigation that the agency could run out of funds by 2021 as its collection has been affected by the health crisis brought by the coronavirus disease pandemic due to increased benefit payouts. The agency is also marred by corruption allegations.
"I will take their word that probably by 2021, late 2021, or late 2022, they may run out of money. And that is why we have in our budget for this year, I believe, it is around P70 or P80 billion to subsidize PhilHealth," Dominguez said.
However, Dominguez noted that since October last year, his office has been meeting with PhilHealth officials telling them that the agency's current state of information system does not allow the government to make secure projections on the fund's life.
The DOF said the PhilHealth information system is "in shambles."
"Now, they are arguing about P2.1 billion on information system when in fact they spent close to P200 billion and they have no way of, their information system is not robust enough to capture the data. So, we're saying, number one, they have to improve their information system so we can make not only a one-year projection but a 10-year projection for PhilHealth," he explained.
"We have to face up the administration of PhilHealth in order to be able to get a good handle of what exactly their liabilities and fund life are," Dominguez added.
The Senate has been conducting an inquiry over the alleged massive corruption in PhilHealth. Celerina Monte/DMS