THE Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) formalized their partnership to provide and secure health care for the poor as they sign a Joint Order at the Shangri-la Hotel in Mandaluyong City last November 6, 2012.

The Joint Order will benefit more than five million poor household-beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to uplift their quality of life by not only providing financial assistance but also by extending the needed health care benefits should sicknesses come up among beneficiary families.

The signing of the Joint Order was attended by PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Eduardo P. Banzon, and Cabinet Secretaries of DSWD and Department of Health (DOH), Corazon Juliano-Soliman and Dr. Enrique T. Ona, respectively.

“With the inclusion of health insurance as added benefit, PhilHealth’s support to this program essentially adds another P to the 4Ps which stands for PhilHealth (supports) Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program” said Dr. Banzon.  He added that the move promotes the government’s Universal Health Care program which brings back dignity to our marginalized fellowmen.

Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries shall be afforded with PhilHealth coverage as Sponsored members wholly financed by tax money and which is valid until December 2013. They will be issued their Member Data Record and PhilHealth Identification Number which will serve as their pass when availing of health care benefits at any accredited hospitals in the country.

As part of their entitlements as Sponsored members, they shall no longer pay anything when availing of any of the 23 medical cases and surgical procedures which are reimbursed by PhilHealth on a case-rate basis.

The said No Balance Billing or “walang dagdag bayad” policy also applies to primary care benefits such as consultations, regular blood pressure monitoring, and promotive health education on breastfeeding and counseling on lifestyle modification and smoking cessation. Medicines for diseases like asthma and acute gastroenteritis with no or mild dehydration, upper respiratory tract infection/pneumonia and urinary tract infection are also provided for by accredited healthcare providers.

To ensure access, PhilHealth has automatically accredited all DOH licensed hospitals as Centers of Safety. “This way, accreditation of hospitals is hastened to be able to serve Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries right away” Banzon said.

In addition, they can also avail of the ‘Z’ benefit package for catastrophic illnesses such as childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia, breast and prostate cancer, and kidney transplant, with financial coverage of P210,000, P100,000 (each), and P600,000 respectively. PhilHealth has initially partnered with selected reference and contracted government hospitals nationwide to provide the Z benefits.

Secretary Soliman said that the Joint Order is another milestone in the partnership for the implementation of the Pantawid Pamilya, saying “This revitalized partnership again seals our unwavering commitment to improve the conditions of poor families particularly the children so they are provided with equal opportunities for growth and development.”

Pantawid Pamilya is a human development program of the national government that invests in the health and education of poor households particularly of children aged 0-14 year old. Households are provided with cash grants in exchange of complying with the conditionality of the program. This includes pre and post-natal care for pregnant mothers, immunization and preventive health care for children aged 0-5 years old, deworming for children aged 6-14 years old at least twice a year, attendance to day care and elementary schools for children aged 3-5 years old and 6-14 years old respectively.