EconomyEditor's PickMetro Pacific group eyeing to develop insurance product

September 4, 2022

THE healthcare arm of the Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) is looking to develop a health insurance product, its chairman said.

“[Another aspect] that we would like to develop in the healthcare service is to create a health insurance product for those who can least afford healthcare,” MPIC Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said during the National Public Relations Congress 2022 on Friday.

“If they are covered by insurance, then there’s the ability for them to afford the relevant medical care, and our hospitals would help out,” he added.

The portfolio of Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings, Inc. (MPHHI) now consists of 19 hospitals in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Its hospitals serve an estimated 3.6 million patients annually.

The hospital group also operates six provincial cancer radiotherapy centers, two healthcare colleges, and one central laboratory nationwide.

“Most of our doctors, especially in the topline hospitals, are older doctors, so we need to produce a young cadre of doctors that would enter the stream of these hospitals,” Mr. Pangilinan said.

He noted that 50% of hospital bills are doctors’ bills.

“About 20-25% are medicine and the balance are hospital services such as rooms, diagnostics, and laboratories,” he said.

On bringing down doctors’ bills, he said: “If you could deploy [the new doctors] to the primary-care clinics, then that’s the starting point for them to step into the shoes of the older doctors, and at the same time change the nature of the compensation of the doctors to become employees of the hospitals.”

“So, there’s a fixed monthly salary plus incentives that we should give them. That’s one way to bring down the doctors’ bills.”

MPHHI’s core net income declined 48% to P370 million in the first half, mainly due to higher personnel costs with additional headcount and higher depreciation from completed capital expenditures on the resumption of its expansion plans.

MPIC, which controls power, toll roads, hospital and rail businesses, posted an attributable net income of P9.5 billion in the first semester, down 9% from the same period last year when it booked gains from asset sales.

The company’s core net income for the first half was P7.5 billion, up 24% from P6 billion in the previous year.

Mr. Pangilinan has said the company remains steadfast in its pursuit of other potential growth areas, particularly in agriculture, tourism, and logistics.

Last year, MPIC recognized gains from the sale of power generation company Global Business Power Corp. and Thai toll road operator Don Muang Tollway Public Co. Ltd.

MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of First Pacific, the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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