By Chito Chavez
Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor on Friday noted with sadness that the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) will not fully shoulder the full cost of the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
The vice chairman of the House committee on health said it is very evident that Philhealth has reneged on its promise to shoulder fully the medical expenses of the COVID-19 patients.
With the COVID-19 patients in deep financial burden, Defensor has renewed his appeal for Philhealth to take care of all their treatment expenses or at least those hospitalized before April 15, when the agency set cost limits.
He reminded Philhealth that it has committed to bear the hospitalization cost of those admitted on or before April 14.
Defensor made the appeal after receiving complaints from some of his constituents in Quezon City that hospitals required them to pay for their confinement.
He cited that a couple were among the complainants.
They were admitted in separate hospitals on April 5 and 6 after showing COVID-19 symptoms.
The husband stayed in the hospital for eight days and has been discharged, though he is still experiencing residual pneumonia. He said Philhealth shouldered only P10,000 of his expenses.
His wife is still in the hospital, which has informed her that her bill has run up to P1.2 million.
She was told she would have to pay for her expenses and she would just have to seek reimbursement from Philhealth.
Defensor said this is not what Philhealth president Ricardo Morales promised to do for COVID-19 patients.
He recalled that Morales in an April 4 radio interview when asked about COVID-19 hospitalization expenses said “Lahat yan sasagutin namin…so far ang mataas P2.8 million, hindi pa siya nadidischarge (We will shoulder all the expenses. So far the highest is P2.8 million who has not been discharged).
Defensor asked Philhealth to remind the hospitals that it is they, not their patients, that should seek payment or reimbursement from the state-owned health insurance firm.
Earlier, Philhealth announced that it has set aside an initial P30 billion for COVID-19 patients.