PhilHealth firm on claim: 81% of Filipinos covered
By Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
July 25, 2013 at 8:54 pm

PhilHealth president Alexander Padilla. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. on Thursday stood by its claim that 81 percent of Filipinos are now covered by the government’s universal health program.

PhilHealth president Alexander Padilla said the 81 percent enrollment figure was based on “actual counts of members and dependents” from the agency’s database.

“Admittedly, there were concerns previously on data due to double entries, duplication and use of multipliers in getting the numbers,” Padilla said in a statement.

“But as the corporation continues its data cleanup, more efficient registration and reporting system, the 81 percent enrollment as reported are actual counts of members and dependents from PhilHealth database,” he said.

“These numbers may change as we continue our data clean up but not much,” he added.

The Philippine Medical Association on Tuesday questioned President Benigno Aquino III’s claim in his State of the Nation Address that 81 percent of Filipinos are now covered by PhilHealth.

“If we assume that the total population of the Philippines is 100 million, then 81 percent of Filipinos who are supposedly enrolled in PhilHealth numbers to around 81 million,” said Leo Olarte, PMA president.

“If we follow this kind of logic, a total of eight out of 10 hospital admissions across the country should be PhilHealth cases,” he added.

However, Olarte said reports from various hospitals nationwide did not support this claim, pointing out that the 2008 National Demographic Health Survey showed that only 38 percent of respondents were aware of at least one household member enrolled in PhilHealth.

He also noted that PhilHealth’s information and communication technology system was so problematic that scientific data gathering would “definitely be affected.”

“If you go and enroll yourself today at PhilHealth, chances are you will be given a piece of paper (and) not an electronic ID,” Olarte said.

However, Padilla said Olarte’s claims were based on “estimates” and not from actual data from PhilHealth.

“We are giving the public the numbers based on our actual database count … the pronouncements of (the) PMA president, according to him, is based on estimates,” Padilla said.

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