Better COVID-19 testing capacity to drive testing package cost further down — PhilHealth

Published May 25, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Betheena Unite

Once the country’s testing capacity for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) improves, the price of tests will further go down, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) said, explaining that the price of testing packages is driven by market forces.

PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Morales (Mark Balmores / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Morales

After allegations of overpriced test kits, PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales reiterated that the current testing package rate in the country is determined by market forces, stressing that more supply and better “testing capacity will drive the cost further down.”

“Of course, as a matter of fact, pagdating ng July to October, it will go further down. Gusto kong bigyang diin na walang overpricing ang cost namin. At walang lost ang gobyerno (I want to emphasize that the cost is not overpriced. There is no government loss). We gave the hospitals 120 days to file their claims, PhilHealth has yet to pay for any COVID claims at present,” Morales said during the Laging Handa virtual presser.

Morales also noted that the current P4,210 testing package rate “was already in the works even before the senate hearing,” saying that there is a unit within the corporation dedicated to compute the appropriate cost of tests and medicines.

“So, that’s market forces. P8,150 was the highest cost bought by hospitals in March and at that time there is also a P2,700 cost for test kits that were donated. So it was a range of costs from P8,000 bought by a hospital to P2,700 that were donated.

Transportation cost, extraction cost, and processing cost are also included in the coverage of the package shouldered by PhilHealth, Morales furthered.

The PhilHealth President also reiterated that the government did not suffer any loss due to the alleged overpriced testing package rate.

“Wala pang binabayaran ang Philhealth sa COVID claims so hindi totoo ‘yan na may lost na P8.5 billion (PhilHealth has yet to pay COVID claims, so the P5.8-billion loss is not true). How can we suffer a loss if we haven’t paid anything yet,” Morales said.

He added that the adjustment of the rate “was already in the works and it is still in the works as we continue to collect more data.”

“Overpricing, hindi po nangyayari ‘yan. Open po ang PhilHealth sa kung sino man gusto tumingin sa aming libro at sa aming proseso para malinawan ang issue na ito (Overpricing, it isn’t happening. PhilHealth is open to show its records and procedures to clear the issue),” Morales said.