P6.60 Everyday Family Health Plan
P6.60 Everyday Family Health Plan
A savings mobilization scheme initiated by the Local Health Insurance Office in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan to expand coverage of households whose heads are employed in the informal working sector.
Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines
Primary Health Care
The Philippines is a lower middle-income country in Southeast Asia with a population nearing 101 million. Gross domestic product (GDP) posted a 6.6 growth in the last quarter of 2017, driving the economy to grow by 6.7% in total. Despite this positive outlook, income and social disparities persist, as basic social provisions such as quality health care remain generally inaccessible to vulnerable population groups including those in the informal sector (Ulep, 2013). Health systems in many LMICs are funded primarily through out-of-pocket (OOP) payments; and in the Philippines, it remains a major source of financing health care. There is low collection rate of health insurance premiums, especially among the informal sector members. In Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) attributes this to the informal sector’s low and irregular income, lack of awareness on PhilHealth programs, lack of technical capability to manage a savings mobilization program among themselves, and the inaccessibility of collection facilities.
“In order to achieve universal health coverage, we need to reach out to the informal sector because they are disadvantaged – they are neither subsidised by the government nor has compulsory membership compared to those who are formally employed.”
– Mr. Wilfred Hernandez, Chief Social Insurance Office, Innovator
The project was initiated by the PhilHealth Palawan Local Health Insurance Office that aims to increase the health coverage of informal sector workers, specifically the members of the tricycle operators and drivers’ associations (TODAs) in the city. The project has a capacity building component to ensure that through a savings mobilization scheme, TODA members also become paying members of PhilHealth. In a month, TODA members are required to save a minimum amount of P6.60 ($ 0.13) per day or any available amount. Once their savings reach the amount of P600.00 (approx. $ 12), which is the required quarterly PhilHealth premium, the group treasurer remits the full amount to PhilHealth. Aside from attending regular group meetings, members also benefit from medical check-ups and financial management seminars.
“Setting aside P6.60 every day is not at all hard. If one can buy a pack of cigarettes that costs more, why not save for health insurance instead.”
– AirTODA member, beneficiary
The project lessens the vulnerability of informal sector workers and encourages self-reliance in addressing their own health needs.
Through the savings mobilization programme, the members appreciate the value of savings and develop foresight and group management skills. They also value how health insurance through PhilHealth provides them and their families with financial risk protection and better access to affordable health services.
Members of the informal sector, while they have less access to basic infrastructure and social services, can be empowered by developing their capacity and potential to mobilise resources for health savings. Intensive communication and social marketing strategies need to be in place to increase awareness about PhilHealth and prompt enrolment and retaining of membership. Alongside this, the availability and service coverage of PhilHealth needs to be expanded to maximise utilisation and increase availment rates, thereby minimising out-of-pocket spending during health episodes and lessening the financial burden of health care.
“I feel pride when I collect the payment because I know the members trust me with their money. The LHIO taught me how to fill the forms and record the transactions.”
– AirTODA Treasurer/collector