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PhilHealth urged to expand COVID-19 home care package to include RT-PCR cost

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The Palace on Monday called on the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to expand its home care package for COVID-19 patients to include RT-PCR test costs.

"Philhealth also covers [the treatment cost of] those who have COVID-19 and who are doing home isolation. We are also pushing Philhealth to increase the packages for home isolation, for home treatment," Nograles said in an ANC interview.

"[This is] so [that] those treating themselves at home can also be covered by Philhealth and the Philhealth package should also include RT-PCR cost," Nograles added.

Nograles was referring to the COVID-19 Home Isolation Benefit Package (CHIBP) for those who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms of COVID-19.

Services in the CHIBP include a provision for a home isolation kit containing alcohol, thermometer, pulse oximeter, face masks, medicines, and vitamins; daily teleconsultation for at least 10 days; patient education; and referral to high-level health facilities if needed.

At present, the government policy on administering the RT-PCR test covered by PhilHealth, meaning free and charged to the government, only covers those symptomatic COVID-19 cases and those exposed to the symptomatic cases.

Deputy Chief Implementer Vince Dizon of the National Task Force Against COVID-19 reiterated Monday that the government will stick with the risk-based testing policy even amid the record-setting 28,000 new COVID-19 cases recorded in a day last January 9.

"We really need it to be risk-based, especially with the presence of the Omicron variant which is easily transmissible. Otherwise, it will be unsustainable because even if you subject yourself to a COVID-19 test now, you can be exposed to a COVID-19 case by tomorrow and you could still be infected with COVID-19," Dizon said during the Laging Handa briefing.

"That is why we need it to be risk-based, so we can manage our resources well," Dizon added. — DVM, GMA News

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