MANILA – A lawmaker on Wednesday called on President Rodrigo Duterte to direct the state-owned Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to shoulder the full cost for treating coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said PhilHealth should reverse its new scheme to impose limits on the assistance for Covid-19 patients.

“I am appealing to the President and the IATF to reverse the decision of PhilHealth to limit the treatment cost it will shoulder. It is the poor who will suffer from that decision, and I am sure the President will not allow that,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez made the appeal following a news report that an unnamed private hospital in Metro Manila billed a “moderate case” Covid-19 patient PHP1.1 million for an 18-day confinement and treatment, or an average of almost PHP61,000 a day.

“Patients who are poor and even those belonging to the middle class certainly cannot afford PHP61,000 or even much less than that a day. The government, through PhilHealth, has to help them by shouldering the full cost of treatment,” Rodriguez said.

He cited that the bill included PHP176,945 for the patient’s stay in the emergency room, PHP123,665 for the use of an incubator, PHP178,820 for X-rays and a test kit, and PHP305,636 for medicines.

The insurance firm started limiting the cost of Covid-19 treatment on Wednesday with the new package covering four categories: PHP43,997 for mild pneumonia, PHP143,267 for moderate pneumonia, PHP333,519 for severe pneumonia, PHP786,384 for critical pneumonia.

Rodriguez said the maximum amounts were set five days after PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales announced that the firm would answer for the full cost of Covid-19 treatment. (PNA)

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