MANILA, Philippines — The government must provide additional funding for the insurance coverage of students under the state-owned Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) in the face of an imminent return to in-person classes, party-list group Kabataan said on Saturday.
The group welcomed the decision of the Interagency Task Force for COVID-19 to repeal the requirement for tertiary education students to have PhilHealth insurance or any counterpart medical insurance before being allowed to attend in-person classes.
“However, a repeal is not enough. Students still need health insurance for COVID-19 given its potential threat even under alert level 1 areas,” it said.
Kabataan party-list is calling for a separate medical fund to fulfill the need of providing PhilHealth coverage to students and to better guarantee their safety as they shift back to attending in-person classes.
According to the group, PhilHealth insurance covers only a limited amount based on case severity while necessarily imposing several fees on students who would go through its application process.
“Moreover, it allows the state to pass the financial burden of COVID-19 medical treatment to individual students. We reiterate that making it mandatory is discriminatory, antipoor and negligent on the part of the state,” the group said.
Kabataan said the funding can be sourced after the government has investigated and retrieved billions of misused and corrupted funds from PhilHealth itself.