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PhilHealth lowers testing package rate to P4,200 from P8,150

Following overpricing allegations, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) has lowered the cost of its testing package for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients.

According to Rida Reyes' report on "24 Oras," the price has been nearly halved from the P8,150 previously to only P4,200.

The PCR testing covers more than half of the package cost. Previously pegged at P5,443, it has been reduced to P2,508. Other items include clinical assessment, diagnosis, specimen collection and transport, and overhead cost.

"These case rates are constantly being reviewed, and now that we have more data, as you said there are more test kits coming in that are actually cheaper, we will incorporate it into our case rate," said PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales. 

READ: PhilHealth explains P8,150 package for COVID-19 test kits

According to PhilHealth, hospitals also charge differently for the test kits depending on whether they were donated or purchased from various sources.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon earlier questioned the cost of the package and urged the Department of Health to review the pricing.

In a senate hearing, he showed a document listing the cost of a cheaper test kit at P750. This is also lower than the P3,500 from Philippine Red Cross.

Morales said PhilHealth's previous package was based on prices from the beginning of the pandemic.

"The data for the April 14 case rate was collected when there were very few testing facilities in the country. So the demand was very high but the supply was very low. So this jacked up the cost of the testing kits," he said. —MGP, GMA News