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PhilHealth to start limiting COVID-19 assistance on April 15

State-insurer Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) is scheduled to impose limits on the assistance for patients hit by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) this week, after it previously said it will shoulder the full cost of treatment for the deadly illness.

According to PhilHealth vice president for corporate affairs and spokesperson Dr. Shirley Domingo, the new scheme will take effect on Wednesday, April 15, 2020.

"Starting April 15, mag-implement na kami ng package rate na 'yan, case rate na tinatawag," she said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.

She was referring to the cost rates which will be implemented for the treatment of COVID-19 patients — P43,997 for those with mild pneumonia; P143,267 for moderate pneumonia; P333,519 for severe pneumonia; and P786,384 for critical pneumonia.

"Starting tomorrow, case rate rin tayo. But meron rin tayong mechanism naman, lalo na kung indigent, wala siyang pambayad ng bills, kung lalampas siya sa case rate, kasi malaki-laki rin naman ang mga case rate natin, ay puwede naman siya mag-request ng assistance doon sa balance of bill," said Domingo.

Prior to the scheme, PhilHealth covered the full cost of expenses for those admitted from February 1 to April 14, 2020.

"Hanggang (April) 14, kami nagbayad ng full amount ng kanilang hospital bills, because we were still collecting, nagkokolekta pa lang kami ng data mula sa mga hospitals," Domingo said.

"Alam mo, bagong sakit ito. Wala pa tayong case rate niyan and iba-iba ang management ng COVID patients na na-confine so iba-iba 'yung gastos, iba-iba 'yung hospital bills. Therefore nagkokolekta pa lang kami ng data during that time. Pero ngayon naka-come up na kami ng tamang case rate naman, depende sa seriousness ng sakit," she explained.

As of April 13, 2020, the Philippines has so far recorded a total of 4,932 confirmed cases of COVID-19. This includes 242 recoveries and 315 deaths. —Jon Viktor Cabuenas/KG, GMA News