It appears that the BacCHIP card being given out by former Neg. Occ., 3rd District Rep. Albee Benitez to the different barangays in Bacolod City is nothing but a propaganda tool to generate voters’ support, Grupo Progreso spokesman Dr. Chris Sorongon, said yesterday.
The Bacolod City Comprehensive Health Insurance Program cards, or the BacCHIP, are being distributed by the Benitez camp promising that it can be used if residents need medical and hospitalization services.
“It appears to be just a propaganda tool,” Sorongon said.
Private hospitals will not honor the card because it is not funded, barangay indigents who received the first batch of the BacCHIP cards found out.
“We inquired from private hospitals if our patients can be accommodated for confinement using the BacCHIP but we got a negative reply,” disappointed residents from Barangay Singcang-Airport, who requested anonymity, confided.
Benitez earlier claimed that he will issue the BacCHIP and promised to negotiate with private hospitals that Bacolodnons using the card issued by his office will be attended to.
“It (card) turns out to be empty and of no use at all,” the poor residents said.
The BacCHIP, Benitez further explained, is patterned after the Negros Occidental Comprehensive Health Program, or the NOCHP which he claims credit for.
A check with PhilHealth sources however indicated that the NOCHP was the flagship health advocacy program of the provincial government, started during the time of the late Gov. Alfredo Marañon, Jr. in 2010, Sorongon pointed out.
It is mainly bankrolled by Capitol with the support of the different congressional districts and local government units that sponsor the PhilHealth enrolment of beneficiaries.
Under the NOCHP mechanics, recipients are issued cards only after they have enrolled in PhilHealth.
The NOCHP card entitles them to free services in any of the 13 Capitol-owned hospitals.
PhilHealth sources explained that if recipients are retirees, pensioners, kasambahays, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, indigents or students without capacity to pay their PhilHealth dues who are automatically qualified as members provided that they fill out the enrolment forms.
This is the spirit of Republic Act 11223 or the Universal Health Care Law.
If NOCHP applicants do not fall in any of these categories, that is when they secure the sponsorship either of the provincial government, the congressional districts or the LGUs for their PhilHealth enrolment.
This guarantees them of the no balance billing during discharge, so patients or their families no longer have out of pocket expenses after hospitalization.
Those who are not registered with PhilHealth can also heave a sigh of relief, thanks to the Malasakit Centers which partner with the government health insurance agency.
With other hospital expenses being deducted by the Malasakit Centers after certification from the SWUA, the total cost is further reduced.
We cannot comment about the BacCHIP. It’s the first time we heard about it so we don’t know how it works, the PhilHealth sources said.
We are only aware of the NOCHP because it’s been there for some time, they added.*