MANILA, (Mabuhay) — The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) is no longer requiring overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to pay their premium contributions as a requirement to secure an overseas employment certificate (OEC).
PhilHealth President Ricardo Morales made the remark on Tuesday during the virtual organizational meeting of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Universal Health Care.
During the meeting, Senator Bong Go, co-chair of the joint panel, asked Morales about the provision in the implementing rules and regulations of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law requiring OFWs to pay premiums before getting an OEC.
This provision, Go said, is not found in the UHC Law itself.
“This has not been implemented,” Morales told Go.
“What we asked the OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) to help us with is to register the departing OFWs but not to collect, and not to make the premium collection a requirement for the issuance of the OEC. So it has not been made a requirement for departure,” he added.
It was Malacañang who said last month that the payment of PhilHealth premium is no longer a requirement before OFWs can secure an overseas employment certificate.
President Rodrigo Duterte has also directed that OFWs no longer be required to pay PhilHealth premiums, and instead it should be made on a voluntary basis.
According to Morales, they wanted OFWs to register in order to capture the exact number of Filipino migrant workers who are PhilHealth members.
“We want to register yung mga departing OFWs because we have almost 7 to 10 million OFWs pero ang nakaregister sa amin na members are only 360,000. So ang baba ng enrollment. We were hoping to capture the records of departing OFWs,” he said.
“Yung membership natin, kasi hindi natin alam kung ilan OFWs natin. Although we have a large number, walang detalye ng membership,” he added.
With the payment of premiums no longer required to get an OEC, Morales said they would have to seek help from other government agencies to get the actual number of their OFW members.
“We can try data sharing with other agencies, with POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Agency) and OWWA, and also probably from the manning agencies, maybe we could ask assistance from them to complete our membership database,” he added. (MNS)