'OK tayo': Morales denies PhilHealth on verge of bankruptcy

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 06 2020 06:36 PM

MANILA - Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth) President Ricardo Morales on Thursday denied that the state insurance firm was on the brink of bankruptcy, saying the agency would only tank if the government "runs out of money."

Morales' statement contradicted the statement of PhilHealth data protection officer Nerissa Santiago who earlier told senators that the insurance agency's reserve funds could be depleted by 2021. The agency is facing corruption allegations. 

"'Yung actuarial kasi is an estimate so may mga assumption siya
pero 'yung assumptions niya wala nang papasok na fund... but that is not what is going to happen," Morales said in a virtual press conference.

(The actuarial is based on an estimate that assumes that the fund will not increase this year... but that is not what is going to happen.)

"Mauubusan lang ng pera ang PhilHealth 'pag naubusan ng pera ang gobyerno because the government is the reinsurer of PhilHealth," he said.

(The national government is the reinsurer of PhilHealth so the only time PhilHealth runs out of money is if and when the government has already run out of money.)

As of June 30, PhilHealth had some P216 billion, which is "sufficient" to pay benefit payments, PhilHealth Senior Vice President for fund management Renato Limsiaco Jr said.

The agency has P48.4 billion in cash, P35.5 billion in investments and a standby sum of P132 billion, he said.

Limsiaco belied allegations that PhilHealth submitted doctored documents to make it appear that the state-run insurance firm is still in good financial condition.

"Nagulat kami na ang ginagamit ng mga newspaper na basis [para sabihin na manipulated ang financial reports] ay ang mga audit report," Limsiaco said, noting that the Commission on Audit has yet to complete its 2019 audit report.

(We were surprised that newspapers have been using audit reports as their basis for the alleged manipulation of financial reports.)

It was PhilHealth board member Alejandro Cabading who said that the agency has been "manipulating" its financial reports.

The report does not take into consideration PhilHealth’s obligations that’s why it seems there is still enough money despite billions worth of leakages, Cabading earlier told senators.

PhilHealth is still studying how the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) would affect its P200-billion fund as a lot of members who lost their jobs due to the pandemic are longer capable of paying their dues, Morales said.

The agency is under scrutiny after one of its anti-fraud officials resigned last week, citing massive corruption in the agency tasked to cover COVID-19 tests and other medical bills.

PhilHealth officials are expected to appear again at the Senate next week as the chamber seeks to countercheck the agency's claims with observations from regulatory and audit agencies.