Who Benefits from the Government Health Insurance Subsidy for the Poor?
In 1995, the Philippine government, through the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), instituted the National Health Insurance Program. To ensure the enrollment of poor Filipinos in the program, the national government created a health insurance subsidy financed by sin taxes to fund their premium contribution. This Policy Note analyzes the said subsidy and discovers leakages that benefit other groups and institutions, such as the nonpoor sector and even the PhilHealth itself. It also finds the incommensurate benefits the informal sector is receiving relative to its contributions, which can actually destabilize the National Health Insurance Fund. It thus calls for the national government to ensure the integrity of the identification of the poor. It likewise recommends the expansion of the sponsored program to include the informal sector, particularly the disadvantaged.