By Hannah L. Torregoza
Senate health committee chair Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, on Sunday, commended the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) for finally cutting down the price of its COVID-19 test packages.
“I am commending PhilHealth for their immediate response in cutting the cost of COVID-19 test as it provides us a wider coverage for all Filipinos who need to undergo testing in this time of health crisis while maximizing limited government resources,” Go said in a statement.
PhilHealth earlier attracted criticisms after it was disclosed in a Senate hearing that the state health insurer is charging its members a virus test package at a higher cost than what the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) is offering.
Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon said he found PhilHealth’s test package rates overpriced, since it is offered at P8,150, while PRC’s test kits are only at P3, 500, prompting its officials to review their package rates.
Under the new payment scheme, Go said PhilHealth will pay P3,409 as long as test kits and services are provided by the testing laboratory. But if test kits are donated, PhilHealth will pay the P2,077; while in public hospitals, PhilHealth will pay P901 only.
Go said he expects PhilHealth will continue to review its case rates, adding that he and the committee will make sure that PhilHealth rates are in order “to get the best value of every single peso the government spends for this.”
He stressed there is a constant need to reevaluate prices especially on medical supplies, equipment and services given increasing demand for more public healthcare services.
“While government maximizes its limited resources, a lot of our fellow Filipinos have also lost jobs, livelihood and savings. We are fighting for survival — as survival is the name of the game here,” Go said.
“Particularly in times of crisis, every peso counts,” he reminded.