GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/11 June) – The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) in Region 12 has filed charges against two business establishments for failing to remit the collected health insurance premiums from their workers.
Lorelie Bonilla, PhilHealth-12 collection section chief, said in a press conference on Monday they were forced to initiate legal actions against the erring employers after repeatedly ignoring their collection or payment notices.
She said the concerned establishments, which are based here and nearby Koronadal City, already accumulated arrearages of P80,000 to over P100,000.
The complaints against the two employers, which were not named, were filed last week before the local prosecutor’s offices.
Bonilla said at least 40 more cases are being readied by their legal services unit and more will be filed in the coming months.
The charges are for violation of Section 44 of Republic Act (RA) 7875, as amended by RA 10606, or the National Health Insurance Act of 2013, she said.
“We’ve been very lenient about this in the past 10 years and we already exhausted all means to make them pay,” she said.
The official said they pursued the complaints to allow the agency to recover the almost P50 billion in paid claims since 2014 to patients with unremitted premiums.
She said they are hoping to eventually collect the actual unpaid premiums and the corresponding penalties, which will be computed upon settlement.
Lawyer Jusen Lubaton, PhilHealth-12 legal services head, said the non-payment of health insurance premiums collected by employers from their workers is a criminal offense.
Paragraph 5, Section 44 of RA 7875 provides that “any employer or any officer authorized to collect contributions under this Act who, after collecting or deducting the monthly contributions from his employees’ compensation, fails to remit the said contributions to the Corporation within thirty (30) days from the date they become due shall be presumed to have misappropriated such contributions and shall suffer the penalties provided for in Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code.”
“The nature of the violation is estafa and covers its corresponding penalties, including possible imprisonment,” he added. (MindaNews)