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PhilHealth to review P8,150 COVID-19 package after overpricing allegations

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on Wednesday said it is reviewing its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) package in response to allegations of overpricing.

During  the Senate Committee of the Whole hearing, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon asked why test kits were priced at P2,700 for the P8,150 package.

According to PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales, the costs were based on data collected early in the pandemic.

"[N]ow that we have more data, and as you said there are more test kits coming in that are actually cheaper, we will incorporate this in our case rate," Morales said.

"We are already preparing our second COVID-testing rate and even the COVID case rate itself is also being reviewed [...] and I am happy to report that the trend is going lower." he added.

The senator cited Congresswoman Janette Gari,n who said that Sansure COVID-19 test kits from China only cost $15 or P750 per kit.  He also pointed out that the Philippine Red Cross is able to conduct tests at P3,500.

"If Red Cross can do the tests at P3,500 how did PhilHealth arrive at a package of 8,150 [...] There's an ocean of a difference," Drilon said.

Drilon has requested the Department of Health to look into PhilHealth's pricing of the kit.

"My calculation is that for every test that you conduct, there is an over-payment at P8,150 of approximately P6,000 per test," the senator added. — Joahna Lei Casilao/BM, GMA News