Sen. Binay to CHED, IATF: Please don’t burden students

Sen. Binay to CHED, IATF: Please don’t burden students

This was what Senator Nancy Binay had to say over the requirement for higher education students participating in face-to-face classes to have medical insurance, and other documents.

This is a cumbersome and unnecessary requirement para sa college students, considering that by law, all Filipinos are automatic members of PhilHealth. Sa totoo lang, ‘di kailangang dagdagan ang proseso, dapat nga mas simplehan pa,” the senator pointed out.

According to Binay, a lot of parents were complaining about the many documentary requirements being required by colleges and universities before students are allowed to attend face-to-face classes.

“Yung guidelines ng IATF/DOH and CHED have led to many interpretations na halos unreasonable na. Kung walang maipakitang PhilHealth, hihingan ng private health insurance, plus meron pang duly-notarized waiver, health certificate, at certificate of indigency–at yung iba may nire-require pang negative antigen results. We all understand the concern, pero ‘wag naman OA. Katatapos lang ng Kwaresma, eto na naman may panibagong pasanin ang mga magulang, estudyante at daigdig,” Binay noted.

The government has already allowed colleges and universities under Alert Level 1 to hold face-to-face classes at full classroom capacity. However, only fully-vaccinated students with health insurance can participate in face-to-face classes.

Upon announcing the health insurance requirement, the government said that students aged 21 and above may enroll in PhilHealth as indigent members, on grounds that the student has no capacity to pay for the premiums. Meanwhile, students below 21 may be classified as dependents of their parents or legal guardians.

“Dapat ang requirement, simpleng vaxx card lang. Sinasabi ng iba, isang pindot lang ng app, at magbayad ka ng P500, may insurance ka na. May mali eh. Bakit kailangan papahirapan ang estudyante at magulang? Supposedly libre na nga dahil lahat covered ng PhilHealth,” Binay said.

UNNECESSARY BURDEN

Under Republic Act No. 11223 or the Universal Health Care Law, all Filipinos are automatically enrolled in the National Health Insurance Program of PhilHealth.

The health insurance requirement was based on Section H of Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2021-004 of the Commission on Education and the Department of Health which stated guidelines on the implementation of limited face-to-face classes for all programs of higher education institutions.

Binay questioned the requirement, saying that the process of registering would prove burdensome to poor families.

“Ang dehado na naman kasi rito ay ang mga naghihirap nating kababayan, o mga working student. Mag-aayos pa sila ng papeles, kukuha ng birth certificate at marriage certificate ng magulang sa PSA. Tapos certificate of indigency sa local government unit, pipila sa PhilHealth, gagastos ng oras at pamasahe para makapag-rehistro samantalang hindi naman na kailangan dahil myembro na sila. Iyon nga ang point kung bakit ipinaglaban namin ang pagpasa ng UHC Law eh,” the senator said.

FRILLS-FREE

If the government insists on upholding the requirement, Binay said that it should instead mandate higher education institutions to set up frills-free kiosks for health insurance registration at school premises.

“Ginawa ito sa UP (University of the Philippines), pero voluntary. Kung ipagpipilitan ang requirement na ito, mas maigi pang gawing mandatory imbes na optional na ang mga HEI ang may responsibilidad na mag-rehistro sa mga estudyante,” she said.

UP has set up a PhilHealth registration process to ensure that its students have health insurance. In a bulletin released by the university, it said that students may register through the Office of Student Affairs or the Insurance Claims Officers in UP campuses. The registration requirement excludes PhilHealth direct contributors or those with equivalent medical insurance plans.

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