MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on Wednesday, June 3, released a new COVID-19 testing package after it drew criticism for supposed pricey rates.
“The adjustment resulted from its continuing consultation with stakeholders and infectious disease experts, increased availability and affordability of testing kits in the market, and increased number of qualified facilities to do SARS-CoV-2 testing,” PhilHealth said in a statement.
The new testing rates are:
- P3,409 (if all testing services are procured and provided)
- P2,077 (if test kits are donated)
- P901 (if test kits are donated; cost of running lab and PCR machine included in budget of facility)
The rates were computed based on the costs of the services needed in the testing and testing kit. If the kit is donated to the laboratory, its price will be deducted from the total cost.
The state insurer also clarified that the “package is for costs attributable to services related to testing such as clinical assessment, specimen collection, specimen transport and materials such as PPEs and test kits.”
This recent development came after Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon grilled PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales for the supposed “overpriced” testing package at a Senate hearing on government’s COVID-19 response on May 20. (READ: Drilon asks PhilHealth to review P8,150 coronavirus testing package)
Drilon asked Morales how PhilHealth came up with the P8,150 package when the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) only charges P3,500 for its real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.
Morales maintained that “previous P8,150 is not overpriced but reflected testing capacity in March.”
Morales on May 22 told Rappler that the P8,150 testing rate had been scaled down to P4,210, which is now not included in the new package.
Rappler has reached out to Morales for more information regarding the new testing package, but he has yet to reply as of posting.
Aside from covering the COVID-19 testing cost, PhilHealth also shoulders the treatment of Filipinos for COVID-19 based on case rate packages.– Rappler.com