PhilHealth official fears they may lose reserve funds by 2021

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DAVAO CITY— The die is cast and PhilHealth contributors are now worried after PhilHealth Acting Senior Vice President Nerissa Santiago said come 2021 the agency will run into deficit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Santiago who attended the Senate Committee hearing on the alleged irregularities of funds said “It will be in 2021 that we will run into deficit. There will be no more reserve fund by 2021″.

But former Philhealth anti-fraud officer Lawyer Thorrsson Montes Keith told the Senate during the Committee hearing that syndicates which he described as “mafia” inside the agency pocketed some P15 billion funds from the agency.

Keith who resigned on July 23 revealed “My primary job as anti-fraud legal officer of PhilHealth is to spy on corrupt personnel . . . What I have discovered in PhilHealth may be called ‘crime of the year”.

He claimed that officials of the agency have been defrauding the corporation for the past several years.

But Santiago explained that this is because they expect decreased collections and an increase in payouts amid the crisis.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque believes the testimony of resigned Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) anti-fraud legal officer Thorsson Montes Keith that the state insurer’s executives may have pocketed PHP15 billion through fraudulent schemes.

Roque, who filed raps against PhilHealth executives over the WellMed ghost dialysis scam last year, said he also had a source who claimed that for some time, PhilHealth lost about PHP174 billion.

Jane Castro 45, a PhilHealth member in an interview with Newsline.ph was shocked when she heard the news about corruption at Philhealth. “It is my money and they are taking it, what will happen to us? What if we will be hospitalized anytime? They must be jailed,” Castro lamented.

Castro said she has been contributing for the last 25 years, she even commented that Philhealth employees even gave a run around treatment to its clients “If we go there as if we are a disruption . . . as if we are not welcome- but look they are taking our money”.

Cristino Pandi, 53, said President Rodrigo Duterte should show an example of his promise to run after corrupt officials in government by punishing the officials of Philhealth “Tatay Digong, ipakita mo sa amin na mahal mo kami, pera namin yon, punish them (Tatay Digong, show to us that you love us, it’s our money, punish them).

Based on the narrative of the officials, they expect a net operating loss of P90 billion in 2020, adding they also project to incur P147 billion in losses by next year.

Santiago said the actuarial life of PhilHealth was reduced to one year from 10 years.

When Senator Franklin Drilon squeezed Santiago about her revelation that PhilHealth may stop operations by 2022, the later said the only thing that can help her agency is to get subsidy “We can only survive with additional contributions coming from the government”.-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph

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