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Velasco files House measures to suspend PhilHealth, SSS rate hikes

SPEAKER Lord Allan Q. Velasco on Thursday filed House Bill (HB) No. 8316, which authorizes the President to suspend scheduled increases in member contributions to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) “in times of national emergency or when the public interest so requires.”

The measure proposes to amend Republic Act (RA) No. 11223 or the Universal Health Care Law, according to the text of the bill.

Mr. Velasco also filed HB 8317, which authorizes the President to suspend scheduled increases in the contributions to the Social Security System (SSS). The power to suspend entails consultation with the Secretary of Finance, who is an ex-officio member of the Social Security Commission (SSC.)

The PhilHealth measure, which is similar to HB 8300 filed by Marikina City Representative Stella Luz A. Quimbo on Wednesday, gives the President the power to suspend rate hike in consultation with the Secretaries of Health and Finance and the PhilHealth chairman.

“Suspending the imposition of the new PhilHealth premium rates will provide a much-needed relief from the negative effects of the pandemic and will assure Filipinos that the government is sensitive to their sentiments,” according to the bill.

RA No. 11223 authorizes a 0.5% percentage point increase in premium contributions every year between 2021 and 2025. The premium rate for this year will increase to 3.5% of members’ monthly basic salary from 3% in the previous year, raising the minimum contribution to P350 from the current P300.

RA No. 11199 or Social Security Act of 2018, empowers the SSC, the governing body for the SSS, to increase the contribution rate by 1 percentage point every other year between 2019 and 2025.

SSS contribution rates rise to 13% of basic salary starting this month, from 12% last year. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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