In light of the enactment of Republic Act 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) raised several points which it believes will challenge the sustainability of collection from contributory members, especially the employers.
These are embodied in the presentation made by ECOP Governor Federico Marquez, Jr. during the conduct of a Health Care Financing Summit by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) on March 18-19 at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria.
Marquez noted that MSMEs, which constitute 99.4% of registered enterprises in the country, will be adversely impacted. Based on projections in the next five (5) years, the employer share in the premium contributions per employee is almost doubled with a range from Php 250 to Php 1,250.
“The impending increase in contributions will pose an additional burden to employers, especially since the SSS premium contributions will also be increased biennially following the passage of the new SSS Charter,” Marquez pointed out.
“Considering the reality that at present, employers are already having a difficult time paying the current rate due to them, increasing the premium contributions annually will only increase the risk of non-compliance,” Marquez warned.
At the same time, Marquez stated that creating more avenues for remittance and reporting will enable employers to better fulfill their obligations under the law. He noted that though the online system has made remitting and reporting easier for some employers, there are still those who do not have access to the necessary infrastructure and technical know-how for the Electronic Premium Remittance System (EPRS).
In terms of administrative duties of the employer (remittance and reporting), unlike large enterprises, not all MSMEs could afford to engage a full-time HR personnel who would focus on the employers’ social security obligations. Oftentimes, owners, managers, and supervisors handle these roles as part of the operations.
In addition, Marquez said the annual increase in premium contributions would constitute an additional burden to the employer. “Though a 0.25% increase may seem negligible, the incremental impact, considering the number of employees that an enterprise may have, could be significant and would substantially add to the cost of doing business,” he asserted.
He said strong political commitment is crucial for the extension of healthcare protection to all. The Philippine government, he pointed out, should take the lead in healthcare financing as it is their duty to the Filipino people. “There needs to be an increase in the budget allocation from the general appropriations for healthcare,” Marquez emphasized.