E D I S O N I S M

Curiosity Knows No Boundaries

Government and Taxes: PhilHealth Bureaucracy

By: Nonoy Oplas

When my wife gave birth to our 2nd child early last week, I needed to get her member data record (MDR) as one of the requirements for PhilHealth claims/deductions. I went to PhilHealth Quirino Ave. office to get it. The printing of that document should not take more than 1 minute, I guess.

But the long lines just to get that MDR -- as shown in this photo -- was que horror! About 30+ people queuing to get an MDR or PhilHealth ID and only 1 PhilHealth staff to entertain them all. It took me 1:40 hours just to get that simple document.

Does PhilHealth think that their members are jobless people who have nothing else to do and hence, can endure queueing for hours just to get simple documents, or file claims? I filed a claim, again for my wife who was hospitalized about 3 months ago. Just to file the claim took me 2:05 hours. Then we will have to wait at least 60 working days (roughly 2 1/2 months) to get the claims.

While people endure the slowness of PhilHealth bureaucracy when their members get their rightful claims after religiously paying their mandatory monthly contributions for years, there is a poster inside, shown in this photo, that members can send in their contribution by texting. When you send your contribution, PhilHealth wants to get it within seconds or minutes. When you get your claims, PhilHealth wants you to wait for hours queuing, and several months waiting for the actual claims.

Now we are resigned to the fact that PhilHealth's universal coverage will become even bigger and bigger, fine. The poor deserves healthcare. But do we all pay bigger mandatory monthly contributions then? Do we all endure even longer queues and longer waiting period to get Philhealth benefits?

The future is not yet here but my guess is that the answer to my own questions above are all Yes. Endure more ugly government bureaucracies.

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