SEN. Nancy Binay yesterday thanked the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Commission on Higher Education for doing away with the policy of requiring college students to have medical insurance before they can be allowed to attend face-to-face classes.
In a statement, Binay gave the IATF and CHED pats on their backs for listening to the concerns of the people, saying the policy is an added expense since many families are still reeling from the negative impact of the lockdowns due to COVID-19.
“Bawas perwisyo ito sa mga estudyante’t pamilya nila, at reassuring din na nakikinig ang pamahalaan sa mga hinaing ng bayan (That will lessen the burden to students and their families, as this only goes to show that the government is listening to the concerns of its citizens),” Binay said.
Binay had earlier urged the government to scrap the policy, which she said was onerous and unnecessary given that all Filipinos are automatic members of PhilHealth.
“A simple vax card should do. Some people say that students can easily have a medical insurance with just a touch on an app, then pay P500, they will already have a medical insurance. I think there’s something wrong here. Why burden a student and his or her family? That (medical insurance) should be for free because everyone is covered by PhilHealth,” she said, citing RA 11223 or the Universal Health Care Law where all Filipinos are automatically enrolled in the National Health Insurance Program of PhilHealth.
The requirement for students to have health insurance was imposed as a condition for the return to in-person classes this year, which was based on Section H of Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2021-004 of the Commission on Education and the Department of Health which released guidelines on the implementation of limited face-to-face classes for all programs of higher education institutions.
The IATF allowed last March the conduct of in-person classes for Higher Education Institutions in areas under Alert Level 1 to up to 100-percent classroom capacity. However, only fully vaccinated students and teaching and non-teaching personnel are allowed to participate.
Over the weekend, Malacañang announced that the government has repealed the policy of requiring college students to have medical insurance before they can be allowed to attend face-to-face classes.
The IATF scrapped the policy based on the recommendation of CHED.
Binay said: “It takes humility to admit when one needs to correct things and take a step back. We learn from mistakes and make things better. I am glad that the IATF saw it unnecessary to further pursue the insurance requirement. A policy really needs to be repealed or amended if does not do any good to the people,” she added.