The PhilHealth office in Palawan has encouraged its members to update their membership IDs to avail of the expanded Konsulta package, which offers a broader range of health services and benefits.

Marian Carlos, social insurance assistant and information officer for PhilHealth in the province explained during Tuesday’s Kapihan sa SM that there are additional consultations, health screenings, assessments, and laboratory diagnostic examinations covered under the Konsulta program, and urged Palaweños to register or reactivate their PhilHealth IDs to avail of the program.

She described the Konsulta program as an improved version of the old primary care benefit for the insurance.

“Sa program na ito, bawat member ay dapat magparegister ng napili nilang Konsulta provider. Sa process natin ng pagre-register ay may two ways- ang pag self-registration or login sa PhilHealth portal, at doon sila pipili ng programa nila. At yung next ay assistance, for example sa employer nila or sa social worker ng munisipyo, or sa Konsulta provider na kanilang napili.”

She noted that the PhilHealth accredited Konsulta providers may also facilitate the registration of those from remote areas who want to avail of their services.

Carlos said that as of February this year,  that there are 33 accredited Konsulta providers in Palawan. Puerto Princesa City has 90,899 persons registered under the Konsulta program followed by Taytay with 43, 467,  Narra with 34,404, Coron with 26, 637, and San Vicente with 23, 718.

She advised members to register only with Konsulta providers or through the PhilHealth website. She cautioned against those availing PhilHealth ID numbers and automatic transaction codes online that did not come directly from those, as their office had to assist more than one member from far-away municipalities who submitted their IDs in the office only to find out that they were not included in the system.

Carlos, when asked about the fluctuations in monthly payments, explained that Congress had authorized the gradual adjustment of percentage rates annually to mitigate the impact on consumers. Consequently, PhilHealth’s insurance rates increased from 2.75 percent in 2019 to 3 percent in 2020 and 2021, and further rose to 4.5 percent in 2023.

“Ngayon ay ginawang 5 percent ulit [ang increase], wala nang suspension from Malacañang. Tuloy-tuloy na ang five percent na increase ni PhilHealth. Ang mangyayari po kunyari ay may P 10,000 income, automatic ay 500 pesos ang binabayad nila,” Carlos added, noting that this counted for those self-employed, as those working in sectors with an employer split the insurance payments 50-50, thus an employee would pay P 250 per month.

They also noted that indigents, or those whose total household income fell under P 10,001 can avail a certificate of indigency from their barangays and submit it to a municipal social worker who will assist them in updating their PhilHealth IDs and reactivate or register them with waived fees.

“Dati po, before ng UHC Law, dapat dire-diretso yung payment mo ng 3 months or 9 months bago ka makakaavail ng benefits, at di ka makaka-avail pag naka-miss ka ng payment pag di ka nakabayad ng isang buwan. Pero ngayon, under the UHC law kahit na inactive member ka makaka-avail ng benefits ngayon,” Carlos said.

As for those yet to reactivate their PhilHealth IDs, Paz Fejea Marcellene Diocales, Clerk III for PhilHealth, urged them to follow through and avail the program.

Diocales noted that those consumers whose monthly payments lapsed due to unemployment or gaps in work shouldn’t be daunted by additional fees regarding unpaid months, as since PhilHealth was under the Universal Health Care Act since 2019, they only had to pay for the months since then.

“Yung PhilHealth ay na-establish noong February 14, 1995, kasabay din ng National Health Insurance Month. Naging under lang ng Universal Health Care etong PhilHealth, na naisabatas noong 2019. Yung babayaran lang ay yung mga missed payments since 2019, hindi na kasama yung before that,” Diocales said.