Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) assures overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that they will not require payment of Philhealth premiums for their Overseas Employment Certificate (OECs).
In an Advisory No. 56 posted at their official website on May 4, POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia clarified that there is no Governing Board Resolution that required them to do so.
“The POEA hereby informs the public that since the passage of Republic Act 11223, otherwise known as the Philippine Universal Health Care Act, the POEA Governing Board, a tripartite policymaking body with DOLE Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III as its Chairperson, has not passed a resolution that authorizes the POEA to require OFWs to pay Philhealth premium in their application for the issuance of OECs,” Olalia said.
“As such, the public is assured that POEA systems and processes on the issuance of OECs are currently not linked with that of the Philhealth, and is consistent with the directive of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to ease OFWs of additional burden by suspending the collection of higher premiums from OFWs. Likewise, the POEA is compliant with the same presidential directive to recognize the payment of Philhealth membership contribution as voluntary,” he added.
OFWs were surprised to know that Philhealth has increased the monthly premium of ‘direct contributors’ to 3% of salary starting this 2020. Direct contributors include migrant workers in which land-based and sea-based OFWs are categorized into.
With salary ceiling at P60,000 this 2020, the premium could reach as high as P21,600. OFWs were previously mandated to pay a fixed annual rate of just P2,400.
The contributions will go up by .5% each year until it reaches 5% of salary on 2025, with salary ceiling of P100,000 or a contribution of P60,000 annual.
The new premium contribution schedule is brought about by the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law passed in February 2019.