TACLOBAN CITY – The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation in Eastern Visayas has paid at least PHP258 million for the testing of suspected and confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients from March 2020 to mid-December last year.
PhilHealth Eastern Visayas acting regional vice president Rosario Suyom on Monday said the amount paid to three accredited testing laboratories in the region is on top of the agency’s refund to Covid-19 patients admitted in hospitals and those who stayed in isolation centers.
“We are mandated to pay regardless of the number of tests done to one patient. PhilHealth has reserve funds to shoulder the cost of testing,” Suyom told the Philippine News Agency.
The region has three accredited Covid-19 testing centers located at the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center and Divine Word Hospital in Tacloban City and Ospa Farmers’ Medical Center in Ormoc City.
As of Dec. 31, 2021, the Department of Health (DOH) has recorded 51,480 confirmed Covid-9 cases, including 50,822 recoveries, and 631 deaths. This brings the total active cases to only 27 in the region.
Meanwhile, PhilHealth announced its new benefit package rates for Covid-19 testing using plate-based and cartridge-based reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) through its Circular No. 2021-0021, which took effect upon its publication on Nov. 30, 2021.
In the said issuance, the state health insurer will provide coverage ranging from PHP800 to PHP2,800 for plate-based, and PHP500 to PHP2,450 for cartridge-based RT-PCR tests.
A cartridge-based PCR test is a faster version that provides accurate results by examining several gene markers to find out if a patient is positive for the virus that causes Covid-19.
The results of the RT-PCR test are out after six to eight hours while the cartridge-based PCR test can have results in as little as an hour, according to DOH.
PhilHealth based the new rates on the revised costing estimates and the price cap prescribed by the DOH and Department of Trade and Industry. The agency will continue monitoring and reviewing the implementation of its benefit packages to ensure financial risk protection to its beneficiaries.
PhilHealth clarified that the package is for costs attributable to services related to testing such as clinical assessment, specimen collection, specimen transport, purchase materials such as personal protective equipment and test kits. (PNA)