The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and the Department of Health (DOH) have begun implementing health reforms to improve the country’s healthcare system.
Anna Liza De Leon, senior social insurance specialist of the Quality Assurance Group at PhilHealth, said this during a recent webinar organized by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). The virtual event featured two PIDS studies, namely, “Primary Health Care for Noncommunicable Diseases in the Philippines” and “An Assessment of the Expanded Program on Immunization in the Philippines: Challenges and Ways Forward”.
The first study found that NCDs have become the major cause of disease burden in the Philippines and are projected to increase in the medium to long term.
De Leon, a discussant in the webinar, noted that a “stronger primary care system” is needed to “strengthen the NCD management in the country”.  
Meanwhile, the second study revealed long-standing problems on the country’s expanded immunization program, such as “under-vaccination, untimely administration, and failure to reach and maintain herd immunity levels”.
To address the rising cases of NCDs and issues on the expanded immunization program, De Leon said PhilHealth is working towards implementing the health reforms envisioned in Republic Act 11223 or the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act of the Philippines.
The UHC Act aims to provide every Filipino with the “highest possible quality of health care that is accessible, efficient, equitably distributed, adequately funded, and fairly financed”.
De Leon noted that while there are still challenges on how PhilHealth and DOH could implement UHC reforms, both agencies are working together for its full implementation. 
She mentioned that PhillHealth has started implementing the Konsulta package, which integrates previous primary care benefits, namely, Primary Care Benefit (PCB) and the Expanded PCB.
The Konsulta package aims to “increase access to primary care and ensure financial protection to all Filipinos”.
“With PhilHealth Konsulta, we are targeting to have every Filipino be registered with their chosen PhilHealth Konsulta provider, pursuant to the UHC law,” she said.
De Leon also shared that PhilHealth aims to transition the Konsulta package into a comprehensive outpatient benefit package (COBP) by 2024.
“Health services will be expanded to cover the different health conditions and needs of Filipinos. Local governments play a key role as we shift towards COBP since the law sees its implementation in the context of healthcare provider networks, the intent of which is to ensure the provision of a full spectrum of care from primary to tertiary,” she explained. ###
You may watch the webinar at For more videos of PIDS events, go to

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