South Cotabato allocates P18M for health insurance

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/12 June) — The South Cotabato provincial government spent P18 million this year for the health insurance of 15,000 poor families, officials said.

Gov. Arthur Y. Pingoy Jr. and officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. – Region 12 (PhilHealth 12) recently signed a memorandum of agreement renewing the health insurance sponsorship program.

Pingoy noted that the provincial government benefited from the signing of the MoA because there would be no increase in the premium that will be paid by the local government unit until 2013.

“Instead of P1,400, the  provincial  government only pays P1,200 annual   insurance  premium [per beneficiary],”  he said in a statement released by PhilHealth-12.

Pingoy is one of the 36 local chief executives in Region-12 who have signed a two-year lock-in period until 2013 with PhilHealth, the agency said.

Also called the Soccsksargen Region, it straddles the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat, and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan, and Cotabato.

The region has also 45 municipalities.

In South Cotabato, there are at least 92,000 PhilHealth card holders—the 15,000 sponsored by the provincial government and the 53,000 under the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction, the premium of which is shouldered by the Pantawid  Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

At least 24,000 others are sponsored by other local government units in the province and  some  civic  and private  organizations.

As renewed members, the 15,000 families may now avail of the Primary Care Benefit package through their respective accredited Rural Health Units launched last April that includes primary preventive services, diagnostic examinations and free drugs and medicines.

Primary preventive services include free consultation, visual inspection with acetic acid, regular blood pressure measurements, breastfeeding program education, periodic clinical breast examination, counseling for lifestyle modification, counseling for smoking cessation, body measurements, and digital recital examination.

Free diagnostic examinations include complete blood count, urinalysis, fecalysis, sputum micersocopy, fasting blood sugar, lipid profile and chest-xray while drugs free for dispensing are medicines for asthma, acute gastroenteritis, upper respiratory tract infection and urinary tract infection.

Dr. Miriam Cynthia Pamonag, Philhealth 12’s field operations chief, said the agency has provided the LGUs with the list of sponsored members.

She added that beneficiaries can also seek assistance from Philhealth Care nurses assigned in public hospitals if they have questions on how to avail of the benefits.

The beneficiaries could also avail of the maternity care and newborn care packages from accredited birthing or lying-in clinics and hospitals. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)