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Senate, House to suspend PhilHealth, SSS premium hike

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco filed two separate bills seeking to grant the President the authority to suspend the scheduled increases in PhilHealth and Social Security System (SSS) contribution rates in “times of national emergencies.”

In House Bills 8316 and 8317, Velasco sought to amend the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act and The Social Security Act (SSA) of 2018 which provide for the gradual increases in the monthly premium contributions of PhilHealth and SSS members.

The Social Security Act of 2018, which was passed to ensure the long-term viability of the SSS’ fund life, mandates a 1% increase in the contribution of its members this year, bringing the monthly contribution rate to 13%.

Meanwhile, under the Universal Health Care (UHC) law, premium contributions to PhilHealth will increase to increments of 0.5% every year, starting 2021 until it reaches the 5% limit in 2025.

For 2021, the increase in the contribution rate would be from the current 3% of the monthly basic salary of the member to 3.5%.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the deferment of the 2021 contribution hike for members of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). Duterte said there would be no increase in contributions amid the pandemic.

“At this time of our life, may I just suggest to PhilHealth chairman, si Dante Gierran, at ‘yung lahat na, wag muna ngayon. No increase in contributions,”

Duterte said. “I will look for the money to fill it up. Anyway, that is the job of the government: to make it easy for everybody at this time of our lives,” he added.

Senator Bong Go earlier said Duterte had expressed willingness to sign any paper that would allow the deferment of the contribution increase, which was mandated by the Universal Health Care (UHC) law.

Lawmakers across party lines have jointly filed a resolution calling for the deferment of the increase in the PhilHealth contribution rate for 2021, Anakalusugan party-list Representative Mike Defensor.

Defensor, who serves as vice chair of the House committee on health, said the proposal to defer the PhilHealth contribution rate adjustment came up after a discussion among lawmakers on Monday.

“After our discussion yesterday, nag-post ako sa mga thread naming members of Congress.

Immediately 30 authors coming from different political parties, different political influences filed a joint resolution to defer it to 2022,” he said.

“For 2021 there will be no increase,” he added.

Defensor then issued a filed copy of Joint Resolution No. 33 by both houses of Congress deferring the PhilHealth premium rate hike for this year, authored by 54 lawmakers at the House.