RA 11223: Universal Healthcare Act Philippines

The Universal Healthcare Act, Republic Act No. 11223, introduced in February 2019, is a comprehensive reform aiming to ensure all Filipinos have equitable access to quality and affordable medical services, thus reducing financial burdens associated with medical care. It mandates automatic enrollment of every Filipino into the National Health Insurance Program, covering a range of services from preventive to palliative care. 

Targeting both direct contributors (those who pay premiums) and indirect contributors (subsidized by the government), the Act promises to transform health care delivery across the nation. Beneficiaries can expect improved access to medical services, including preventive, curative, and rehabilitative services, significantly reducing out-of-pocket expenses. With a strong legal foundation rooted in the principle that health is a fundamental human right, this program marks a significant step towards a healthier and more inclusive Philippines, ensuring that health care is a right, not a privilege.

Credits: PNA

What is the Universal Healthcare Act?

The Universal Healthcare Act, enacted into law in February 2019, aims to guarantee equitable access to quality and affordable medical services for all Filipinos, safeguarding them against financial risk. This landmark law automatically enrolls all Filipinos into the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP), ensuring comprehensive coverage from preventive to palliative care.

Legal Foundation

This transformative act is anchored on the principle that health is a fundamental human right. It emphasizes a holistic approach to health, incorporating comprehensive health literacy and promoting conditions for a healthy living environment.


The benefits under the UHC Act are extensive, aiming to cover a wide range of health care services. Here are some highlights:

  • Preventive Care: Services aimed at preventing illnesses, including regular check-ups and vaccinations.
  • Curative Services: Treatment for diagnosed health conditions.
  • Palliative Care: Support for individuals with terminal illnesses.
  • Financial Protection: Reduced out-of-pocket expenses for treatments and medicines.

Who is Eligible?

All Filipino citizens are eligible under the UHC Act. There are two main categories of members:

  • Direct Contributors: Those who have the ability to pay premiums, including employees and self-employed individuals.
  • Indirect Contributors: Those subsidized by the government, including indigents and senior citizens.


To benefit from the UHC Act, one must be a registered member of PhilHealth. Required documents typically include a valid ID and proof of citizenship (e.g., birth certificate).

How to Benefit: A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Ensure PhilHealth Membership: Make sure you or your dependents are registered members.
  2. Update Your Information: Keep your PhilHealth records up to date, including your dependents.
  3. Know Your Benefits: Familiarize yourself with the services covered under the UHC Act.
  4. Avail Services: Visit a health care provider affiliated with PhilHealth or any Malasakit Center when you need medical services.
  5. Submit Claims: For reimbursements, ensure to submit necessary documents and claims to PhilHealth.

Funding and Implementation

The first year of the UHC law’s implementation requires a substantial budget, sourced from sin taxes and government corporations like PAGCOR and PCSO. This funding aims to ensure everyone can access health services without financial hardship.

Challenges and Reforms

The UHC law also addresses the need for more health care professionals and equitable distribution of health workers across the country. Efforts are underway to develop the health system’s human resources and ensure competitive salaries and permanent employment for health professionals.

Moving Forward

The Universal Healthcare Act represents a monumental step towards a healthier Philippines. However, its success depends on the collaborative effort of the government, health care providers, and the citizens. As we move forward, it’s important to ensure that the law’s provisions are effectively implemented, bringing us closer to the vision of accessible and affordable medical care for all Filipinos.

The UHC Act is not just a piece of legislation; it’s a commitment to the health and well-being of every Filipino. It’s an assurance that health is a right, not a privilege, paving the way for a healthier and more inclusive Philippines.

Recent Updates

AnaKalusugan Party-list Rep. Ray Reyes Advocates for Stronger UHC Law with Free Annual Check-up Bill

AnaKalusugan Party-list Rep. Ray Reyes advocates for a stronger Universal Health Care (UHC) Law by pushing for the inclusion of the Free Annual Check-up Bill. As a vice chairman of the House Committee on Health, Reyes filed House Bill No. 430 to establish a program that offers Filipinos free annual check-ups, including blood sugar and cholesterol tests. By embodying the Free Annual Medical Check-up Bill in the UHC Law amendments, it aims to institutionalize the PhilHealth’s Konsulta Program and provide better health care to Filipinos, ensuring sustainability and continuity beyond political dynamics. (Manila Bulletin)

Sen. Bong Go Supports Amendments to UHC Act for Affordable PhilHealth Contributions

Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go supports proposed amendments to the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act, aiming to make Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) contributions more affordable. Due to the unforeseen impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, increasing PhilHealth premium contribution rates until 2025 is no longer practical. Sen. Go believes it would be unjust to impose additional financial burdens on those already facing hardships and suggests providing relief as the country recovers from the pandemic. (Manila Times)

Amendment to Universal Healthcare Act Proposed to Adjust PhilHealth Premium Rates

Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito has sponsored Senate Bill 2620, which seeks to amend the Universal Healthcare (UHC) Act to allow for the revision of premium rates of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) for direct contributors. The proposed amendment aims to adapt the rates to current circumstances, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, and ensure that the adjustments are fair and considerate of the financial capacity of the people. The bill also includes provisions for adjusting income thresholds and subsidizing premium contributions for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). (Manila Times)

PhilHealth Empowers LGBTQIA+ Members in Batangas through Orientation on Benefits, Services

PhilHealth Regional Office (PRO) IV-B recently conducted a virtual orientation for Wagayway Equality, Inc., a non-government group in Batangas City. The orientation focused on the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law, Konsulta, and other programs and services offered by PhilHealth. The group, which advocates for gender equality and LGBTQIA+ rights, expressed interest in partnering with PhilHealth to provide essential services to its members.


Video: Ano ba ang Universal Health Care?

In 2019, the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act was passed, marking a significant milestone in health care. Universal health care refers to a system that ensures access to quality health services for all individuals, regardless of their socio-economic status. The UHC Act brings numerous benefits, such as improved medical access, reduced financial burden, and enhanced health outcomes for the population.


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