MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on Wednesday, April 1, said that it would continue to cover expenses of patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) until April 14.
“The reason for this accommodation window is due to the novelty and and the wide range of severity of the disease in the country for which no existing rate or package based on accepted protocols has yet been established,” the PhilHealth said in a statement.
PhilHealth added that it was “confident that by the above-mentioned date, more about the behavior of the disease in the Philippine can be learned, a final protocol established and an appropriate case rate developed that will provide adequacy and sustainability to the anti-COVID-19 campaign.”
The state insurer said that it would release a new set of guidelines which would include “appropriate case rate and protocol” for COVID-19 coverage.
On March 26, PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales said that the state insurer will shoulder the hospital expenses of Filipinos should they be diagnosed with COVID-19.
Morales, however, said that he could not specify a definite set of benefits yet but gave assurances that PhilHealth will pay for “whatever it takes.” (READ: PhilHealth to shoulder coronavirus-related expenses)
Under the Universal Health Care Law, PhilHealth is tasked with implementing the National Health Insurance Program, which covers all Filipino citizens.
On Tuesday, March 31, Rappler spoke to a relative of a coronavirus patient who banked on Morales' assurance that PhilHealth will cover his father's hospital expenses. (READ: Lack of PhilHealth rules on coronavirus expenses leaves patient’s family in limbo)
His father, who was confined at high-end hospital, has a running bill of P1.4 million.
In their communication with PhilHealth and the hospital, they were told that the state insurer will only cover P42,000 of the bill as of now – P32,000 for pneumonia-related disease and P14,000 for the isolation room.
Meanwhile, PhilHealth assured the public that it "intends to fulfill its mandate under the Universal Health Care Law of providing adequate health service to all Filipinos when needed."
As of Wednesday, the Philippines has 2,311 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 96 deaths and 50 recoveries. Globally, the death toll has surpassed 40,000 while more than 840,000 have been infected in over 180 countries and territories. – Rappler.com