Philhealth to cover COVID-19 testing
As part of directives from President Rodrigo Duterte for government to address concerns involving Covid-19, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) will shoulder testing costs for the virus so that the public need not worry of the expenses that could be incurred by individuals seeking treatment.
This was announced on Wednesday by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who confirmed that Covid-19 tests in hospitals would be covered by Philhealth on top of coverage for quarantine and isolation costs.
“The President recognizes that everyone in the country is concerned about Covid-19 and the threat this poses to the health and lives of our loved ones, especially vulnerable individuals like senior citizens,” said Nograles, a member of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“Given this, the last thing we want is for our citizens to worry about medical costs and expenses. Their only concern should be their well-being and the well-being of their families.”
The Palace official shared that President and CEO Ricardo Morales informed him that the agency is formalizing and operationalizing the new benefit.
Nograles said the government is also working to ensure there would be an adequate number of testing kits in order to quickly identify and isolate those infected with Covid-19.
“We are fast-tracking the deployment of these kits so these can be used at the soonest possible time. Per Dr. Destura of Manila Healthtek, the rapid diagnostic test kit for Covid-19 is set for field validation study, and that UP PGH and the National Institute for Health have agreed to support the study,” explained the former lawmaker from Davao.
“At this point, they just need to conduct validation of 500 tests for Covid-19 to enable them to conduct clinical sensitivity analysis as a pre-condition set by the FDA. Once it passes the clinical tests, the FDA will grant full access by all hospitals, as guided by the DOH,” added Nograles.
According to Nograles, there are also private hospitals that have signified their intention to join the field validation and that the NIH is hoping to secure approval by the ethics committee for field validation testing by Friday. DMS