After two years of online classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, college students may finally set foot on campus. But only students who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and who have registered with the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) or any medical health insurance company may attend in-person classes.
Based on the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Health's Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2021-004 issued Dec. 15, 2021, which the Inter-Agency Task Force cited as the basis for its Resolution No. 164 on March 11: "Higher Education Institutions shall ensure that students who will participate in the conduct of limited face-to-face classes are registered with PhilHealth...or with equivalent medical insurance that covers medical expenses related to COVID-19."
Sen. Nancy Binay has called the requirement "cumbersome" and "unnecessary."
"Katatapos lang ng Kwaresma, eto na naman may panibagong pasanin ang mga magulang, estudyante at daigdig,” Binay said, adding that COVID-19 vaccine cards should suffice.
For those who are at a loss on how to proceed with this requirement, here are the things that parents and students should know about PhilHealth registration.
How to become a PhilHealth member?
Under the Universal Health Care Law (UHC), all Filipinos are automatic members of PhilHealth, as one just needs to proceed to any PhilHealth office to register.
Philhealth said students may register as direct or indirect contributors. According to the state insurer's website, direct contributors include:
- Employees with formal employment
- Self-earning individuals; Professional practitioners
- Overseas Filipino Workers
- Filipinos living abroad and those with dual citizenship
- Lifetime members
- All Filipinos aged 21 years and above with the capacity to pay
Indirect contributors, meanwhile, are those shouldered by the government, including:
- Indigents identified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
- Beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program
- Senior citizens
- Persons with disability
- Sangguniang Kabataan officials
- Previously identified at point-of-service/sponsored by local government units
- Filipinos aged 21 years old and above without the capacity to pay premiums
What are the requirements for PhilHealth registration?
Registrants must submit a duly accomplished PhilHealth Member Registration Form (PMRF) to any PhilHealth office. The form is available on-site and online.
They must also bring their birth certificate issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority and one government ID, if not a school ID.
No registration fee is needed as the entire process is just free and only takes minutes. Registrants will get their PhilHealth IDs and numbers on the spot.
The University of the Philippines, for one, has also allowed students to register through its Office of Student Affairs or Insurance Claims Officers on the UP campus. It also has a special arrangement for group registration to ease the process.
What is PhilHealth's premium rate?
PhilHealth's premium rate for direct contributors is a minimum of P300, or 3% of the minimum income floor of P10,000.
For the maximum income ceiling of P60,000, there will be a premium rate of P1,800.
Payments can be done monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually.
I cannot afford the premium rates. Can I still register with PhilHealth?
PhilHealth said a student aged 21 and up may apply for a certificate of indigency from the city or municipal social welfare office of their respective LGUs. The office will issue the certificate after conducting a financial capacity assessment, in which the applicant may be classified as an indirect contributor.
Those below 21 years old, meanwhile, may be classified as dependents of their parents or legal guardians and are still covered by PhilHealth.
My parent or legal guardian has not enlisted me as a dependent. What should I do?
The parent or legal guardian must update their member data record in the nearest PhilHealth office. They will be asked to accomplish another PMRF and present the birth certificate of their undeclared dependent.
Can PWDs register with PhilHealth?
PWDs must first register with their LGUs via the PhilHealth Registry for PWDs. The LGU, then, will forward their application to PhilHealth.
Once verified, they'll be classified as indirect contributors.