The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) will be launching an expanded primary care benefits (ePCB) program in Visayas. ePCB will allow more members to avail of preventive services and health care premiums. This announcement was made at a stakeholders forum for members from Regions 6, 7 and 8 held in Iloilo City on Thursday, November 29.
Acting senior vice president of PhilHealth’s Health Finance Policy Sector Dr. Israel Francis Pargas said on Thursday that the new program will also cover more illnesses, disabilities, and maintenance medicines for members. Members with diabetes and hypertension can now enjoy coverage for relevant services and medication through their PhilHealth plan.
According to Janimhe Cam, head of the PhilHealth Region 6 (Western Visayas) Regional Public Affairs Unit, the PCB program already provided free consultations, diagnostic services, and medicines to rural health units (RHUs). It also made available primary care providers to indigent patients, sponsored citizens, overseas Filipino workers, and teachers of the Department of Education.
ePCB will expand these benefits to now cover lifetime members and those who are part of the formal economy. Primary care will also now be available to levels 1, 2, and 3 private and government hospitals, ambulatory surgical services and infirmaries, and to private medical and outpatient clinics. Essential services like consultations and the complete dose of medicines will be retained.
To avail of ePCB, paying members need to have settled at least nine months’ worth of premiums in the 12 months preceding the confinements or treatments. This count includes the confinement month in which the patient wishes to avail of the benefits.
Two health care providers in Western Visayas, Qulimed Hospital in Mandurriao district, Iloilo City and Sebaste Community Hospital in Sebaste town, Antique, are pioneering the implementation of ePCB. Essential services under the expanded program can now be availed of at these facilities.
During Thursday stakeholder’s forum, Dr. Pargas urged other healthcare providers to seek accreditation from PhilHealth for ePCB. He also said that some 80 applications from across the country are currently being processed.
“We are just waiting for their performance commitment,” said Pargas. He added that PhilHealth is confident that more hospitals and medical facilities will acquire accreditation before year’s end.
“In 2019, we are targeting that all hospitals in the whole country are already accredited because it is a benefit that should be enjoyed by all members,” he added.