In the continuing thrust towards electronic paperless transactions, the GSIS launched the enhanced eBCS. The eBCS is a system that enabled remitting agencies to download billing files and upload electronic remittance files (ERFs) using a web-based application developed by the GSIS. The new version of the eBCS took off from the previous compact disks that contained the premium and loan amortizations due from government employees, which were delivered to and viewed/uploaded by remitting agencies in their personal computers as the basis for payment.
The primary online interface of the eBCS which can be accessed at www.ebcs.gsis.gov.ph
Background and Problem
The GSIS and its billing and collection systems play a pivotal role in maintaining the actuarial solvency and sustainability of the pension fund. This role need not be underscored considering that the lifeblood of any insurance company, for that matter, are premiums, where the correct and timely receipt of which is the foremost objective of any billing and collection system. With about 1.6 million members, the volume of transactions of each member of GSIS (i.e. from premium payments to life insurances and various loans) easily generates ten million lines per month. With such volume of records, it is no wonder that updating and reconciliation of members’ records is a painstaking task for both GSIS and government agencies. It may also be recalled that in 2003, GSIS suspended its loan transactions and launched a massive cleansing and updating of its membership database. It was then discovered that while GSIS only has 1.4 million members that time, the database maintained 2.4 million. The database was in such disarray that it reflected 58 percent higher membership coverage due to numerous duplicate and excess records.
Solution and Impact
The GSIS, in its aim to reaffirm its commitment to provide the most responsive service to its 1.6 million members, has carried out the implementation of eBCS. With this streamlined and efficient process, timely receipt of billing, coupled with prompt remittance of agency payments, was attained; as well as updating records and immediate posting of payments where members are assured of an updated database resulting in accurate computations of their claims and benefits. The project also paved way in empowering the members and agency partners to participate in the evolution of GSIS towards establishing an institutional culture of excellence.
Undoubtedly, the roll-out of the eBCS made the job of authorized officers in 7,951 remitting agencies a lot easier and faster. With eBCS, finance and remittance officers can easily determine discrepancies between billing and remittance due for the month; validate and correct errors prior to the confirmation of payment resulting in a more accurate member and claim records of their employees; and conduct online billing search, generate reports, and utilize a mechanism that allows immediate feedback to and from the GSIS.
With a centralized membership database, the eBCS was implemented organization-wide (i.e. in the Head Office and in all of its 54 branches/satellite offices). The adoption of the eBCS is also in line with the Expanded Modified Direct Payment Scheme (ExMDPS) of the Department of Budget and Management that adopts uniform payment procedures in the settlement of bills to all creditors and payees of the National Government Agencies, including GSIS. Finance and remittance officers of government agencies were introduced into the first generation eBCS (using diskettes) as early as 2009. To gain expertise and proficiency with the enhanced system, continuing trainings and re-trainings were conducted nationwide on the use of the facilities provided by the new eBCS. As of August 12, 2015, a total of 6,391 or 99.70 percent of the remitting agencies that have access to the eBCS utilized the eBCS. The 20 percent remaining agencies that have no access to eBCS have yet to comply with the GSIS specification on requiring designated remittance officers to be permanent employees of the agency, with a salary grade of 12 and above.