MANILA—The chairman of the House Committee on Senior Citizens on Wednesday said the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) should authorize barangays to serve as registration centers so that elderly Filipinos can be registered with PhilHealth conveniently.

Senior Citizen Party-list Rep. Rodolfo Ordanes said it would be grossly inconvenient to require seniors to go to PhilHealth offices for them to sign up with the state health insurance firm given the prevailing Covid-19 infection risks.

Ordanes said the barangay staff instead can do house-to-house registration drives on specific days or weekends can be designated as seniors PhilHealth registration days.

“For seniors to sign up with PhilHealth in advance of their availment of benefits, then the proper way is for PhilHealth to deputize or authorize barangays to serve as PhilHealth registration centers,” Ordanes said. “Barangays have staff dedicated to seniors and PWD affairs, they know every senior in the barangay because they have records of them.”

Filipinos 60 years old and above are mandatorily covered under the National Health Insurance Program pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act 10645, as reiterated under RA 11223, or the Universal Health Care Law of 2019.

Ordanes said PhilHealth should also find ways to enable the elderly to easily register and to make it a standard operating procedure in all hospitals to sign up unregistered seniors when they show up to avail themselves of PhilHealth benefits.

“The looming danger now is the probable withdrawal of some hospitals from PhilHealth because of nonpayment by PhilHealth of overdue remittances to hospitals for services already rendered. Seniors would be the first sector to be affected if hospitals withdraw from being accredited by the PhilHealth,” he said.

PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Dante Gierran encouraged senior citizens to ensure they are duly registered or are updated in their records with PhilHealth.

Gierran said qualified senior citizens should only submit two duly accomplished PhilHealth Member Registration Form (PMRF) to the Office for Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) in the local government units where they reside and await notification if their member data record is already sent by PhilHealth.

Senior citizens who will opt to register at any PhilHealth Local Health Insurance Office must present and submit a copy of their senior citizens’ ID or any proof of age together with a 1×1 photo taken within the last six months, in addition to their filled-out PMRF. PNA

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