The Social Development Committee (SDC) MIMAROPA tackled proposed inclusions to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) Z benefits during its fourth quarter meeting held through video conference on November 5.

The Type Z case of breast cancer is a primary condition that is life- or limb-threatening and requires prolonged hospitalization, extremely expensive therapies, or other care that would deplete one’s financial resources. PhilHealth MIMAROPA representative, Ms. Sharmaine de Torres, presented the guiding principles of Z-benefits during the meeting emphasizing the procedures for filing and schedule of payment of claims for early-stage breast cancer. De Torres also informed that the package rate for breast cancer stage 0 to III-A is PhP100,000 with PhP75,000 for tranche 1 and PhP25,000 for tranche 2 payment. ​​​​​​​

The Committee adopted a resolution requesting PhilHealth to expand the benefits of the Z-benefits and allow breast cancer patients to avail the maximum benefit package of PhP100,000; downgrade the chemotherapy from a mandatory procedure to optional especially to stage 0 patients and other early stage breast cancer patients who do not need chemotherapy; include aromatase inhibitor as a drug for hormone therapy; and streamline the process and procedures to avail the Z-benefit package.

The issue stemmed from Regional Development Council  (RDC) VI Resolution No. 43, which also urged PhilHealth to amend the principles of the Z-benefits, particularly for early-stage breast cancer patients.

The following matters were also presented during the meeting for the Committee’s review/endorsement: (a) 2021 MIMAROPA Regional Development Report preparation guidelines, (b) updated 2017-2022 Regional Development Investment Program guidelines and FY 2023 Annual Investment Program; and (c) proposed schedule of CY 2022 RDC  meetings.

The  Philippine Statistics Authority MIMAROPA also  presented the results of the 2020 census of population and housing for the information of the Committee members. The Department of Health in MIMAROPA also updated the members on the current status of the COVID-19 and the vaccination rollout in the region.