PhilHealth to shoulder testing costs for COVID-19
PhilHealth will be shouldering testing costs for potential COVID-19 patients.
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PhilHealth to shoulder testing costs for COVID-19
Franco Luna ( - March 11, 2020 - 2:14pm

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 2:42 p.m.) — Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Wednesday said that the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) would shoulder the testing costs for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in hospitals.

The insurance company would also carry hospital fees for quarantine and isolation, according to Nograles. 

PhilHealth told in an online exchange that the benefit may be availed for admissions beginning January 30.

The insurance company also sent the following details:

  • Patients Under Investigation in levels 2-3 hospitals for quarantine/appropriate management can avail Isolation Package P14,000.00. P4,000 Referral Package for PUI patients for referral to higher level facility can be availed by referring hospitals.
  • The Referral Package for Patients Under Investigation (PUI) covers patients initially seen in lower level facility but needs referral to a higher level facility for quarantine. This package with a Case Rate amount of P4,000.00  can be availed of by the referring hospitals for the initial management, stabilization and transit of the patient to the referral hospital.
  • The Existing Case Rate Package such as (Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Pneumonia, Sepsis and Hemodialysis may be claimed instead of the Isolation Package based on the presentation and management during the course in the ward.

Nograles said that this was "so that the public need not to worry of the expenses that could be incurred by individuals seeking treatment."

In an earlier text message exchange, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told that patients were only tested "just 3x" per day. 

Only “about 200 to 250 people” are getting tested a day at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Duque said. 

"PUIs are isolated in hospitals and tested for COVID-19. If positive [they're] manage[d] accordingly until 2 negative tests are reached and then discharged with close monitoring," he added.

Once samples are taken from PUIs, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) runs confirmatory tests for traces of COVID-19. The Health department says these tests can take up to 48 hours.

Nograles also bared that PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales said the agency was already in the process of formalizing and operationalizing the measure.

Many have cast fear over the country's ability to detect new cases as they happen. On Tuesday, the country’s Food and Drug Administration gave a green light for a detection kit developed by the University of the Philippines National Institute of Health. 

As of this writing, some 106,000 worldwide have been afflicted with the new virus. 

“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,” Nograles said. — with report from Prinz Magtulis

If you believe you have come into possible contact with infected patients, you may be directed to the proper office of the Department of Health for advice through the following lines: (632) 8651-7800 local 5003-5004 or (632) 165-364.

You may also opt to call the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine at (02) 8807-2631/ 8807-2632/ 8807-2637. 

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: November 29, 2020 - 4:10pm

Follow this page for updates on a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.

November 29, 2020 - 4:10pm

The Department of Health reports an additional 2,076 COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, pushing the national caseload to 429,864.

The DOH also records 10,579 new recoveries, bringing the total of recovered patients to 398,624. With 40 new reported deaths, the country's death toll is now at 8,373.

With the latest figures, total active cases in the country stand at 22,867.

November 29, 2020 - 3:02pm

Around 9,000 runners — some wearing face masks — took part in the Shanghai International Marathon Sunday, Chinese media said, a rare mass event in a year when coronavirus laid waste to most such sport.

Prior to the race officials touted it as an opportunity to show how China — where the virus emerged late last year before unleashing a pandemic — is moving ahead despite the continuing global health crisis.

The prestigious New York, Berlin, Boston and Chicago marathons all fell victim to coronavirus this year, while London and Tokyo were open only to elite runners.

Bucking that trend, the Shanghai marathon went ahead under sunny skies following several days of rain, and with virus prevention measures in place to thwart infections. — AFP

November 28, 2020 - 5:18pm

More than 400,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus have been registered in Europe, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources around 0800 GMT Saturday.

The second-worst hit global region after Latin America and the Caribbean, 400,649 people have died of Covid-19 in Europe among 17,606,370 confirmed cases. Of these, 36,147 occurred in the past week alone -- the continent's worst seven-day total since the pandemic began.

Britain accounted for almost two-thirds of the European deaths at 57,551 from almost 1.6 million infections, followed by Italy with 53,677 deaths and 1.5 million infections, France (51,914 deaths, 2.2 million cases), Spain (44,668 deaths, 1.6 million cases) and Russia (39,068 deaths, 2.2 million cases). — AFP

November 28, 2020 - 4:04pm

The Department of Health confirms 1,893 new cases of the coronavirus disease. Total cases now at 427,797.

Out of the confirmed cases, 31,402 are registered active. There are 79 additional fatalities and 474 new recoveries.

November 28, 2020 - 3:31pm

Parts of Europe will reopen stores on Saturday in time for the holiday season after progress in containing the coronavirus, but Los Angeles will halt nearly all gatherings with the pandemic surging across the United States.

Most countries hope to ease their virus rules for Christmas and New Year, allowing families a respite before bracing for what the world hopes is one last wave of restrictions until a clutch of promising new vaccines kick in.

Stores will lift their shutters in France on Saturday, while Poland's shopping centres will also reopen. — AFP

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