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COVID-19 patient's hospital bill reaches P3M

The hospital bill of a patient who was diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)  reached more than P3 million in a span of 16 days, according to a Stand for Truth report on Wednesday.

The father of Jerome, not his real name, was confined for 16 days in a private hospital before he succumbed to the disease.

His father was in critical condition during his stay and the hospital bill costs about P3.8 million.

Jerome disclosed that on the first day of his father's stay at the hospital, the initial bill was already about P177,000.

“That time, no choice kami. Wala nang tumatanggap sa amin na kahit anong ospital. Ang nagpamahal dito is ‘yong ER kasi, ang rate nila is P2,800 per hour so doon medyo tumagal kasi puno ‘yong mga ICU,” he said.

“Ang X-ray dito sobrang dami kasing kailangang makita kung nagpo-progress ba o hindi then another is ‘yung blood test,” he added.

Based on his father’s bill, the doctor’s fee was more than P200,000, while the laboratory test and pulmonary services cost more than P400,000.

The cost of the medicines, meanwhile, reached up to P1.4 million.

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) earlier said it would shoulder the full cost of treatment for COVID-19 patients until April 14.

With this, the hospital bill of Jerome’s father was covered by the state insurer.

However, starting April 15, PhilHealth already imposed limitations on the cash assistance for patients hit by the respiratory illness depending on their condition.

The new cost rates will be 43,997 for those with mild pneumonia; P143,267 for moderate pneumonia; P333,519 for severe pneumonia; and P786,384 for critical pneumonia.

“Bago ito eh. Wala pa tayong ganitong sakit dati so wala pa tayong case rate about this. Therefore, kumuha kami ng mga costing data sa mga hospitals na may COVID cases. So ‘yung leveling was based on that costing data then we worked on averages,” said PhilHealth spokesperson Dr. Shirley Domingo.

Domingo added patients may apply for additional funding should the package rates be insufficient.

“They can appeal, write a letter to the president namin and request for additional assistance doon sa remaining bill and then, ia-assess natin ‘yan, case-to-case basis,” she said. -- Ma. Angelica Garcia/BAP, GMA News