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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Five million poor families to be covered by Philhealth

THE National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) on Sunday said that the government has allotted P3.5 billion this year for a program that provides free health insurance services for about five million poor Filipino families.

Anti-poverty Secretary Domingo Panganiban said the national government and its local government partners joined hands to subsidize the health insurance premiums of P1,200 each for a targeted 4.8 million poor families under the Sponsored Program of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) .

Panganiban added that the national government expects local government units to disburse an additional P2.13 billion for the PhilHealth Sponsored Program for 2008 alone.

“The beneficiaries of the PhilHealth-sponsore d program will enjoy the same benefits enjoyed by all regular PhilHealth members,” Panganiban said.

Through the program, about five million Filipino families belonging to the poorest 25 percent of the population can now look forward to adequate social protection in case of medical emergencies.

Panganiban said President Gloria Arroyo earlier ordered the cabinet group of NAPC and the National Economic and Development Authority to discuss ways to help the poor cope with record-high fuel and food prices.

“The President is determined to ensure better social protection services for the poor, which is why the government is aggressively pushing for the maintenance and expansion of this program,” Panganiban said.

The commission said quoting a report from PhilHealth that some 2.7 million poor families have already been enrolled under PhilHealth’s Sponsored Program as of December 2007.

Gilda Salvacion Diaz of the PhilHealth Corporate Planning Department said that in the expansion of the program, local government units will be responsible for identifying the program’s beneficiary families. Ira Karen Apanay, MANILATIMES

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