PhilHealth extends 'special privIleges' to Paeng-hit areas under state of calamity

Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) (MANILA BULLETIN)

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) said it is extending "special privileges" to its members and health facilities that were affected by Severe Tropical Storm Paeng.

In a statement, PhilHealth said that such a move was in response to President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s declaration of State of Calamity in Calabarzon, Bicol, Western Visayas, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for a period of six months.

"PhilHealth is extending various special privileges to affected members, employers and healthcare facilities to ensure continuous provision of health care services to all Filipinos adversely affected by fortuitous events," the state health insurer said.

It said that affected members are "granted exemption from the 45-day benefit limit and single period of confinement rule, as well as coverage even for confinements under 24 hours."

Also the "deadline for the payment of contributions for self-paying members shall likewise be extended to provide greater financial flexibility. The same will also apply to the employer in the affected areas," PhilHealth said.

Meanwhile, affected health facilities "shall be entitled to extended submission of claims from 60 to 120 calendar days, reimbursement for both referring and receiving health care institutions, extension on the submission of the mandatory reports, extension of validity of accreditation and/or submission of application of health care providers, and reimbursement for destroyed claims," said PhilHealth.

The agency noted that affected healthcare providers are, however, "requested to send a letter request to the concerned PhilHealth Regional Office for the application of the said policy."

PhilHealth said that special privileges are granted to ensure continuous access to its benefits and "substantial aid to healthcare institutions in rebuilding their critically damaged health care system, provided that a declaration of state of calamity is issued by competent authorities."

Severe Tropical Storm Paeng hit the Philippines last Oct. 29. Around 4.6 million people or 1.3 million families were affected. Also, 158 people were confirmed to have died due to the onslaught of Paeng, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.