Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. yesterday said the national government has committed to pay for the PhilHealth premiums of 491,000 indigent families in Negros Occidental this year.
Provincial government consultant Roy Balicas, who met with PhilHealth president Alexander Padilla at his office in Manila Thursday, as facilitated by Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District), said the coverage of 491,000 Negrense families at P2,400 each annually will cost the national government P1,178,400,000, that will be funded by sin taxes.
Last year, the PhilHealth had covered 130,000 Negrense families, so this is a big increase, Balicas said.
The 491,000 families to be covered by PhilHealth in Negros Occidental were identified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, through its National Household Targeting System, Balicas added.
Marañon said that, with this development, provincial government funds previously used for the PhilHealth premiums of indigent Negrenses will instead finance the Negros Occidental Comprehensive Health Care Program.
The provincial government had previously paid P99,279,335 for the PhilHealth premiums of 55,679 indigent families in Negros Occidental.
Marañon said that, with the national government promising to pay for the PhilHealth premiums of the 491,000 indigent families in the province this year, the P99.2 million can be freed for NOCHP.
NOCHP is a provincial government-run health insurance program for indigent Negrenses, which, in the past, received Priority Development Assistance Funds from the six congressional representatives of the province.
With the abolition of the PDAF, the provincial government will continue the NOCHP using local funds, the governor said.
The NOCHP insurance system augments the health benefits of Negrenses also covered by PhilHealth, he said.
The governor also said that, aside from using sin tax collections for PhilHealth premiums, the national government is also using it to help the provincial government acquire hospital equipment.*CPG