Philhealth reduces cost of ‘overpriced’ COVID-19 test

Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth) reduced the price of its COVID-19 test after receiving backlash for its alleged overpriced P8,150 testing payment scheme, Wednesday. 

PhilHealth spokesperson Shirley Domingo in a statement said that “increased availability and affordability of testing kits in the market and the increased number of qualified facilities to do SARS-CoV-2 testing” prompted the cost adjustment. 

Under its new COVID-19 test price package, PhilHealth will pay P3,409 if the testing laboratory bought and provided all services and test kits.

However, if the test kits are donated, PhilHealth will pay P2,077, down from P5,450.

Philhealth will pay P901 if the test kit is donated, instead of P2,710 in public hospitals since lab and testing costs are included in the budget. 

The state-owned insurer would be releasing its new guidelines soon and when this testing package would take effect.

Also read: DOH fails to distribute compensation for ‘COVID-19 heroes’

Philhealth defends ‘overpriced’ COVID-19 test package

Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) earlier explained the alleged “overpriced” P8,150 COVID-19 test kit package, saying the high demand brought the high cost during the first months of the outbreak.

PhilHealth and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales said the P8,150 price was only for test kits bought in March when there was a limited supply.

“Ito naman kasing P8,000, kung binili ng hospital. Alam mo naman nung panahon na ‘yun, RITM lang ang nagte-test at ‘yung capacity, iilan lang, kaya siyempre law of supply and demand,” he said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.

(This P8,000, if the bought it. You know that during that time, RITM is the only testing center, and the capacity was limited, so it is the law of supply and demand.)

“Ang lakas ng demand, kakaunti ang mahanap na test kits, so kaya mataas noon,” he added.

(The demand was high, you can only find few test kits, so the price is high then.)

During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon questioned PhilHealth’s P8,150 COVID-19 test package, while other tests only cost P2,700.

Morales said the prices dropped after the private sector stepped in and produced more test kits for the country.