COVID-19 antigen tests should be reimbursed by PhilHealth — ARTA

Published October 10, 2021, 11:01 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) is set to meet with representatives from various government agencies in the health sector to discuss the possible inclusion of coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid antigen tests in the reimbursable costs of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).


ARTA made the statement as the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, ARTA Deputy Director-General for Operations Ernesto Perez questioned why antigen tests were not included in PhilHealth’s reimbursable costs as they require certification from two government agencies before being distributed for public use.

He said this only adds to the burden of Filipinos who have to shoulder the cost of undergoing antigen tests.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), each rapid antigen test should cost not more than P960.

“It has almost been two years since the pandemic tapos ayun pala (but it turns out), until this time, hindi pa rin kasama ang antigen tests sa (antigen tests are still not included in the) reimbursable costs,” he said.

“Let us not give them another requirement because they have to undergo two agencies’ approval, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Health Technology Assessment Council,” he added.

PhilHealth officials said rapid antigen test kits are still undergoing actuarial studies. However, they agreed to participate in the meetings that ARTA will lead to find solutions and further streamline their processes.

Among the agencies that will be invited to the high-level meeting are PhilHealth, DOH, FDA, HTAC, and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Streamlining of Government Processes (OPASGP).

The meeting is set to take place on October 15.