MANILA – About six million senior citizens in the Philippines will soon be enjoying the benefit of becoming lifetime members of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., (PhilHealth) under the Lifetime Member Program (LMP).
The announcement was made by PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Alexander Padilla during the forum held on Monday in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in celebration of Elderly Filipino Week.
According to Padilla, under the LMP, senior citizens will be covered by the PhilHealth for free. They no longer need to pay the premium.
“Our LMP is open to those who have made 120 monthly contributions to the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP), and have reached the age of retirement,” Padilla clarified.
He added that those who are still employed despite being at the age of retirement are not yet eligible.
This act is supported by DSWD under Senate Bill No. 712 which aspires to provide coverage for all senior citizens in the country. The bill is already approved and is currently on the third and final reading in the Senate.
During the event, DSWD, PhilHealth, Social Security System (SSS) and Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) signed and sealed a manifesto that hopes to promote sufficient social services and protection for senior citizens.
The DSWD noted that there are benefits offered to the elderly but are not being maximized given that majority of them are focused in getting their discounts from their senior citizen’s card.
About 1,000 indigent, abandoned, and sick elderly in Metro Manila can avail of the said benefits.
Former Quezon City councilor and now president of the Federation of Senior Citizens Associations of the Philippines (FSCAP) said that local government units especially those in the wealthy parts of Metro Manila should help in assisting the indigent elderly.
He cited that in Quezon City, there is already a special social pension program wherein indigent citizens are given P500 monthly.
Quezon City has the highest number of elderly residents at approximately 350,000.