Considering that the senior citizens have the highest fatality rate from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), lawmakers have called on the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth) to expand its coverage of dialysis sessions for the elderly up to 144 days amid the pandemic.
Senior Citizens partylist Rep. Francisco Datol Jr. led the filing of House Resolution No. 1054 urging the PhilHealth to take a second look at its Circular No. 22-2015 which provides that only 90 dialysis sessions with a case rate of P2,500 are covered by the government’s health insurance firm per year.
“Senior citizens with kidney disease are then only covered for 90 out of their needed 144 dialysis sessions. Thus, requiring them to pay for the remaining 54 sessions for them to be able to survive or a total of P135,000 per year,” he said.
He said PhilHealth should consider the condition of senior citizens with kidney disease given that they are disproportionately at risk of becoming a fatality of COVID-19.
Caloocan City 1st District Rep. Dale “Along” Malapitan also joined Datol in filing HR No. 1054 urging the 301-man Lower Chamber to “review” and look into the possibility of extending PhilHealth’s dialysis coverage to senior citizens from 90 days to 144 days.
“Due to the extraordinary economic and public health circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, senior citizens with kidney disease do not have the financial and economic capability to pay the P135,000 needed to continue their dialysis session. Thus, leading to a number of fatalities, which could have been avoided,” read the two-page resolution.
Datol and Malapitan said that Article XIII, Section 11 of the Constitution mandates the government’s adoption of an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavour to make essential goods, health, and other social services available to all the people at affordable cost, and that the needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women, and children shall be prioritized.
“In consideration of the aforesaid constitutional and moral mandate, the government should extend the PhilHealth’s coverage on dialysis sessions for senior citizens with kidney disease from 90 to 144 to ensure their continued protection and survival,” they said.