ILOILO CITY, Philippines – The state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) still lags behind its payments to Iloilo City, paying only 17.42% of reimbursable COVID-19 tests, according to Mayor Jerry Treñas.
The mayor said in a Facebook post on Tuesday, December 28, that the Uswag Iloilo City Molecular Laboratory in Barangay San Pedro in Molo district has conducted RT-PCR tests on 99,473 patients.
Treñas placed testing costs at P339,103,457, with non-paying 91,884 patients accounting for P313,232,556.
Of these non-paying patients, only 16,010 PhilHealth claims worth P54,578,090 had been encoded as of December 14, the mayor said.
Included are 2,538 claims paid to the city government, amounting to P8,652,042, and another cash transfer remittance of P14,171,213 by the state-run insurance provider.
The city government sent PhilHealth a demand letter on Monday, December 27, a copy of which the mayor posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday, December 29.
Treñas told Rappler that the P54 million already included the last two categories totaling P22,823,255 in payments.
The mayor explained that with total claims for PhilHealth-covered COVID-19 tests at P313 million, the state health insurer still owes the city P258,654,466 or 82.52% of the total receivables.
“Symptomatic and close contacts are tested free of charge, then they would qualify [for PhilHealth claims]. The [P22 million] is also included in that,” he said in a phone interview.
Treñas also said the insurance provider has not informed the city government when it would pay the balance of claims.
“[PhilHealth] hasn’t told us when they will be paying, but we continue to test because we couldn’t just ignore the needs of our people. We will continue to follow these up until they pay us fully,” he said.
The mayor also mentioned that unpaid claims from COVID-19 tests were also included in the complaint the city government filed against PhilHealth back in September.
As for the seven private hospitals in the city announcing non-renewal of their PhilHealth accreditation starting January 1, 2022, the mayor said there is nothing he can do.
“We’ve tried to mediate between the two sides. It’s really been difficult to talk to PhilHealth. That is why later on, we’ll just have to let that be,” he said.
Testing rates at the Uswag laboratory, which are currently at P1,500, will be slashed to P800 in 2022, according to the mayor. – Rappler.com
Joseph B.A. Marzan is a Visayas-based journalist from Iloilo City and is a recipient of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.