THE Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) announced last Sunday that the state-run firm’s services would continue, albeit face-to-face, after hackers continue to hold private data in ransom.
PhilHealth President and CEO Emmanuel R. Ledesma Jr. said the public’s access to the digital system of the state insurer has been disabled for the meantime as a response to the “information security incident” last September 22.
The disabled online services include PhilHealth’s website, HCI and Member Portal as well as e-Claims, Ledesma added.
“Affected systems shall be restored at the soonest possible time after the completion of the needed configuration and reinforcement of existing information security measures. We are working to restore these systems on Monday, September 25, 2023,” the Philhealth CEO was quoted in a statement as saying.
“PhilHealth’s Management assures the public that the incident is under control and that no personal information and medical information has been compromised or leaked,” he added.
Ledesma said PhilHealth has already coordinated with the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), National Privacy Commission (NPC) and law enforcers for forensic investigation and assessment of the attack.
Ledesma explained that PhilHealth’s services would continue with members and their qualified dependents being advised to submit to accredited healthcare providers in person a copy of their PhilHealth Identification Card or Member Data Record to avail of benefits under the National Health Insurance program (NHIP).
“Self-earning individuals and professionals paying their premium contributions may pay directly to PhilHealth’s existing accredited collecting agents with over-the-counter payments,” he said.
“Accredited healthcare facilities are advised to continue deducting PhilHealth benefits and devise temporary arrangements with patients who are for discharge for them to avail of their benefits,” he added.
Ledesma also advised employers to submit their reports once the Electronic Premium Remittance System (EPRS) has been restored.
“PhilHealth continues its operations and processes transactions that can be done manually while configurations are ongoing,” he added.
With the enactment of Republic Act 7875 in 1995, the PhilHealth was created as a government-owned and -controlled corporation tasked with the mandate of implementing the NHIP. The program aims to provide health insurance coverage and ensures access to cost-effective and quality health care services for all Filipinos, a government document reads. Under this program, the premium contribution of poor families identified by the “National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction” are subsidized by the government.