Monday, 23 November 2009

PhilHealth allots P1.2B for unified ID

Gerard S. dela Pena

STATE HEALTH insurer Philippine Health Insurance Co. (PhilHealth) will allocate P1.2 billion next year to enable its members to hook up into the government's latest project, the unified multipurpose ID (UMID) system.

The amount will initially cover 5 million PhilHealth members, said Dr. Rey B. Aquino, PhilHealth president and chief executive officer.

He said the plan is to allocate approximately the same amount each year for five years to cover the entire 80 million-strong membership base of PhilHealth.

“We are planning to have it next year. It will be included in our budget,” Mr. Aquino told reporters at the sidelines of the ceremonies in connection to the 80 millionth beneficiary of PhilHealth at the Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City on Monday.

“It could be a five-year plan because we are talking about 80 million members. The budget is massive that it cannot be covered in just one year,” he added.

Executive Order (EO) 420 issued in 2005 has mandated all government agencies to adopt the UMID. The project would entail the use of just one card when transacting with government agencies such as the Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Pag-IBIG Home Development Mutual Fund, National Statistics Office (NSO), among others.

The move was aimed at saving costs on part of the government and the public as this removes the need to produce multiple ID cards as well as maintain redundant databases.

Later on, the government issued EO 700 which directed the SSS to lead the project given its efficient ID system.

The task of maintaining and operating the new ID system will eventually be transferred to the NSO, SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Romulo L. Neri said in an earlier interview.

Mr. Neri also said in an interview last month that the SSS was looking at releasing new cards in December.

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