MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Finance (DOF) is supportive of a proposal to place health-maintenance organizations (HMOs) under the supervision and regulation of the Insurance Commission (IC).
In a statement, Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said since HMO providers act like pre-need firms, these should be regulated and supervised by a government institution with "expertise" such as the IC.
“I am supportive of the idea of moving the HMOs to the IC, so that it can be better regulated. Now that we're moving towards a universal healthcare system, we need to make sure that we have a reliable health care provider and financially strong,” he said.
At present, HMOs are under the Department of Health (DOH), but the latter only issues clearance to operate to these companies.
The IC does not consider HMOs as insurance companies. Transferring supervision of HMOs to the IC would require legislative action.
"Right now, it's supposed to be regulated by the DOH, but the DOH does not have the expertise so the DOH is already in talks with the IC because they want to transfer HMOs to IC," he said.
Purisima said the move to transfer supervision of HMOs would also address problems such as "fly-by-night" HMOs and complaints about non-payment of claims.
The Association of Health Maintenance Organization of the Philippines, Inc. (AHMOPI) has not issued an official statement on the proposal.