PhilHealth to enlist more poor beneficiaries in GenSan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/22 October)– The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) is set to conduct a sweep of various communities here next month to facilitate the enlistment of more households, especially the poor, into the government’s health insurance program.
Nol Valila, acting head of the PhilHealth service office here, said such move is part of their efforts to ensure that all households in the city are enrolled with PhilHealth and properly covered by its health insurance services.
Dubbed “Operation Suyod (sweep),” he said the initiative is specifically focusing on the enrollment of poor and marginalized households in line with the implementation of the universal health care program of the Aquino Health Agenda.
“We will literally sweep our local communities and search for those who are not yet PhilHealth members so we can enroll them,” Valila said.
He said they will look into the population data of the city’s 26 barangays and compare them with their membership database for the area.
Based on the government’s 2010 census of population and housing, the city’s total population stands at 538,086.
Valila reiterated the importance of availing PhilHealth coverage, especially for the poor, as it now covers a range of services.
“If you purchase medicine, have an x-ray, undergo an operation or get the services of a doctor, you’ll get refunds and some other benefits through your PhilHealth membership,” he said.
Last week, the PhilHealth service office here released 12,137 free health cards to poor or indigent residents in 24 barangays in the city.
The recipients were among the identified poor households in the city under the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Dr. Miriam Grace Pamonag, PhilHealth Region 12 field operations chief, said the premiums for the health insurance were shouldered by the national government through the Department of Health.
PhilHealth Region 12 had identified around 290,000 households as target beneficiaries for the program, which covers hospitalization benefits, free consultation as well as diagnostic tests from any Philhealth-accredited hospital and non-hospital health facilities in the region.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan, and Cotabato. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)