House Bill No. 4455 of Iloilo City Representative Jerry Treñas was signed into law by President Aquino as Republic Act No. 10645. The new law provides mandatory Philhealth coverage for all senior citizens, amending the existing Expanded Senior Citizens Act. The existing law for senior citizens only limits Philhealth coverage to senior citizens who are bonafide indigents.
The new law states that funds necessary to ensure the enrollment of all senior citizens who are not currently covered by Philhealth as an indigent, dependent or any other category shall be sourced from the National Health Insurance Fund of PhilHealth. Prior to the approval of the law, mandatory Philhealth coverage is limited only to senior citizens who are bonafide indigents. Now, all Filipinos aged 60 and above are automatic members of Philhealth and will receive all of the health benefits provided by the Philhealth program.
Treñas, as one of the principal authors of the new law, pushed for its approval in the House of Representatives. The approved law will benefit the 2.16 million senior citizens who are not yet enrolled in the Philhealth program. Only 3.94 million of the 6.1 million Filipino senior citizens are currently enrolled in Philhealth.
The Iloilo City solon said that the national policies contained in the Constitution and the existing laws supporting our senior citizens provide that all of our country’s elderly shall be given preferential care and protection by the State. He said that being an indigent should not be a requisite for senior citizens to avail of mandatory free Philhealth coverage.
Treñas mentioned that most of our senior citizens no longer have a reliable source of income to support themselves and to pay for their growing medical bills since most of them are already retired. “The approval of this new law will be of great help to our senior citizens, many of which are struggling to cope with the cost of medical treatment. We owe our full support to our honored senior citizens, who have spent their prime years serving our nation and taking care of their families,” said Treñas.