By Ellson Quismorio
A House leader is asking the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to come clean regarding their current funds and tell Congress whether or not they’re running short of money.
“It is important that the government’s health insurance program has enough funding for the hospitalization and treatment of COVID-19 patients,” said Quezon City 2nd district Rep. Precious Castelo, a vice chairperson of the House Metro Manila Development Committee.
She said PhilHealth can project how much it would need this year and submit a request to Congress for additional funds if needed.
Any request should be presented before resumption of sessions by the House of Representatives and the Senate on Monday, May 4, the lady solon said. Lawmakers are expected to prioritize the passage of COVID-19 response measures following their two-month summer recess.
Castelo noted that the legislature had allocated a P71.3-billion subsidy for PhilHealth in the existing are 2020 national budget.
Her appeal came amid complaints from some patients who have been discharged from hospitals that only a small portion of their bills had been charged to the government’s health insurance program.
“While we appreciate PhilHealth’s prudence in managing its funds, it should assist to the fullest extent all patients hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms,” Castelo stressed.
She urged PhilHealth to remind hospitals of the cost limits it had prescribed in connection with COVID-19.
She also asked hospitals to stop their practice of billing patients for expenses chargeable to PhilHealth and refunding them only after they get paid from the insurance agency. “They should bill Philhealth directly.”
Earlier, Castelo urged the agency to reconsider its decision to set cost limits for COVID-19 cases.
The limits are P43,997 for mild pneumonia, P143,267 for moderate pneumonia, P333,519 for severe pneumonia, and P786,384 for critical pneumonia leading to COVID-19.
“It is the poor and senior citizens who will not be able to pay for the excess cost of treatment,” Castelo said.