By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos August 16, 2020, 1:08 pm
This article first appeared in the Philippine News Agency
MANILA – The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) continues to provide coverage for its members who have contracted the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Saturday.
“Sinasagot pa po ([PhilHealth] continues to shoulder [the cost of getting treatment for Covid-19]),” Nograles said in a Facebook live. “Lahat po ng mga pasyente na positive sa Covid, pag pumasok sa hospital, sasagutin po ng PhilHealth (PhilHealth continues to provide financial aid to Covid-19 patients).”
Nograles’ statement came after lawmakers had called for the suspension of PhilHealth’s interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM) program due to issues of alleged favoritisms, inequitable distribution and questionable liquidation.
IRM is an advanced payment scheme that authorizes PhilHealth to give healthcare institutions cash in advance to respond to unanticipated events like natural disasters and calamities.
On Thursday, PhilHealth announced the suspension of IRM to pave way for a review after the release of payments to hospitals for Covid-19 services had been marred by supposed irregularities.
Nograles said Covid-19 patients need not worry, as PhilHealth would continue to help cover the cost of their treatment despite controversies hounding the state insurance agency.
“We will make sure na kung anuman ang pinagdadaanan ng PhilHealth ay gagampanan niya pa rin ang kaniyang tungkulin lalung-lalo na ngayong panahon ng Covid (We will make sure that PhilHealth would continue to fulfill its mandate, especially now that there is Covid-19 pandemic),” he said.
PhilHealth pledged to look for ways to make IRM “more responsive to the needs of healthcare facilities affected by the current pandemic to assure patients of continuous access to needed health services.”
The state insurer, nevertheless, ensured that its members can still avail of Covid-19 packages and other benefits.
Under PhilHealth’s case or package rates, around PHP43,997 will be allotted for Covid-19 patients with mild pneumonia, PHP143,267 for those with moderate pneumonia, PHP333,519 for those with severe pneumonia, and PHP786,384 for those with critical pneumonia.
PhilHealth also shouldered the cost for Covid-19 tests amounting to as high as PHP8,150. (PNA)