According to the government, students who enroll in in-person programs must be registered with PhilHealth or other medical insurance that covers COVID-19 fees.
MANILA, Philippines – As COVID-19 infections decline in the Philippines, one of the hardest-hit sectors, education, is beginning to recover by reopening schools for face-to-face sessions.
In-person classes at full classroom capacity are now permitted at colleges and universities in Alert Level 1 localities. However, in order for students to return to school, the government has imposed restrictions, one of which is that they obtain medical insurance.
Malacaang said on March 11 that students attending in-person classes must be registered with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) or any medical insurance that covers COVID-19 fees.
While the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) believes that medical insurance is beneficial for students’ safe return to schools, they have encouraged the government to allocate funding for it.
The insurance provided by PhilHealth, according to NUSP chairperson Jandeil Roperos, is insufficient because the state health insurer only pays a set amount based on the severity of the situations.
All Filipinos are covered by PhilHealth under the Universal Health Care Law. All they have to do now is register at any PhilHealth office.
Students can register as either direct or indirect contributors, according to PhilHealth.
Members who have the financial means to pay the premium payment are known as direct contributors, while those who do not are known as indirect contributors. Senior people, destitute citizens, and their qualified dependents are eligible for government-subsidized premium contributions.
Premium rate for 2022 is P300 per month.
According to the government, students aged 21 and up can join PhilHealth as impoverished members if they have no obvious source of income. Those under the age of 21 are considered dependents of their parents or legal guardians.
Students can get a certificate of indigency from their local government unit’s city or municipal social welfare office to qualify as an impoverished member, according to PhillHealth.
PhilHealth noted that for schools that chose to register their pupils, additional arrangements had been made to make the process easier. This aims to reduce the amount of time people have to wait in PhilHealth offices. The University of the Philippines, for example, has established its own PhilHealth registration process.
If a higher education institution (HEI) allows students to attend face-to-face classes without first obtaining medical insurance, the HEI “must facilitate the necessary medical treatment/procedures” if they contract COVID-19, according to Resolution 164 of the Inter-Agency Task Force.
Metro Manila, as well as 47 other localities, are currently on Alert Level 1 till March 31.
Establishments and public transit are allowed to operate normally under Alert Level 1, which the administration refers to as the “new normal.” There are no limits on persons of various ages moving about, albeit this is subject to specific norms that vary each local government unit.