President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night ordered the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth) to put on hold its insurance charge hike slated for 2021.

“There is a move to increase the contribution ng mga members. At this time of our life, may I just suggest to the PhilHealth chairman, si Dante Gierran… Huwag muna ngayon,” the president said in a televised address.

The premium rate was supposed to increase from 3 percent in 2020 to 3.5 percent in 2021 in accordance with the Universal Healthcare (UHC) Law.

Those with basic monthly salaries of P10,000 and below would be charged the floor rate of P350 while those earning P70,000 and higher would be required to pay the ceiling rate of P2,450.

Duterte said he would “look for the money” so Filipinos would not deal with the inflated rates amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“No increase in contributions. I will look for the money to fill it up. Maghanap tayo ng pera,” he said.

“That is the job of the government to make it easy for everybody at this time, I said, of our lives. Inabutan tayo nito which was once in every century lang siguro ‘to, hindi pa nga,” Duterte added.

The UHC Law mandated a .5 percent increase in premium rate per annum starting 2021, until the contribution rate reaches 5 percent of a PhilHealth member’s salary in 2025. John Ezekiel J. Hirro