Philhealth to cover costs of COVID-19 testing

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Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Wednesday that the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) will shoulder COVID-19 testing for those who seek treatment. 

He added that it is on top of the agency’s coverage for quarantine and isolation. 

“The last thing we want is for our citizens to worry about medical costs and expenses. Their only concern should be their well-being and the well-being of their families,” Nograles said in a statement.

A Palace official said that the government is working overtime to provide test kits for COVID-19-affected areas.

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the testing kits developed by Filipino scientists at the University of the Philippines National Institute of Health (UP­NIH). 

FDA Director General Rolando Enrique Domingo said that the test kits will help monitor the increasing number of patients suspected with COVID-19. 

“We are fast-tracking the deployment of these kits so these can be used at the soonest possible time. Per Dr. Destura of Manila Healthtek, the rapid diagnostic test kit for COVID-19 is set for field validation study, and that UP PGH and the National Institute for Health have agreed to support the study,” Nograles said.

With regards to the matter, Sen. Binay on Monday slammed the Department of Health (DOH) for only having 2,000 test kits available; the reason why everyone feels “safe” is because the kits are not enough to test if someone is infected or not. 

The imported test kits cost 5,000 to 8,000 each while the locally-produced COVID-19 testing kits only cost 1,200, according to some sources.

Moreover, Nograles added that experts just need to validate 500 tests to meet the standards set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

“Once it passes the clinical tests, the FDA will grant full access by all hospitals, as guided by the DOH,” he said.

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