Over P608 million is allocated in the 2019 National Budget to cover the adjustment in employer share in PhilHealth contributions and extension of primary care benefits to government employees. This is on top of the P883 million earmarked in 2018 for the same purpose.
The funding for both years forms part of the allotment for the Payment of Personnel Benefits, lodged under the special provisions of the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefit Fund. The Payment of Personnel Benefits is used for deficiencies in authorized salaries, bonuses, allowances, associated premiums and other benefits of National Government personnel, including Personnel Services requirements.
This would allow for the continuous provision of free primary care benefits to government employees under the Primary Care Benefit (PCB) program, which started this year.
The benefit design of the PCB program includes basic services and laboratory services for Urinary Tract Infection, acute gastroenteritis, lower and upper respiratory tract infection, and asthma. Drugs and medicines for these conditions are also included in the package.
The PCB is just one of the healthcare benefits provided by the PhilHealth. Besides primary care benefits, government employees are also entitled to inpatient and outpatient care benefits, subject to the PhilHealth’s updated guidelines on the provision of such services.
The PhilHealth will be accrediting more hospitals to ensure better access and smoother implementation of the PCB. Currently, the PCB is available in Rural Health units/centers and select government hospitals.