‘Overpriced’ COVID-19 test packages to be adjusted by PhilHealth

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Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) said it will adjust the prices of its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing packages to reflect more recent data.

According to PhilHealth, the “overpriced” P8,150 price was based on test kit prices earlier this year.

PhilHealth is “already preparing [its] second COVID-19 testing rates” as the P8,150 package flagged by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon was based on data “collected early in the pandemic,” PhilHealth President Ricardo Morales told senators in a hybrid hearing.

“These case rates are constantly being reviewed and now that we have more data, since there are more test kits coming in that are actually cheaper, we will incorporate it into our case rate estimates,” Morales said. No statement was made regarding the updated rates of testing kits

Drilon earlier asked why the state-owned insurance firm priced COVID-19 testing at P8,150, more than double the price charged by the Philippine Red Cross.

PhilHealth priced some testing kits at P2,700 each, but some private firms were able to buy a kit for $15 (P750) a piece, Drilon said.

Morales agreed with Drilon that the PhilHealth made “high estimates” of the cost of COVID-19 testing, noting that they would seek help from Red Cross regarding the pricing of their kits.

“We are asking for help from Red Cross… We are asking Red Cross for a breakdown of their P3,500 [testing cost] so that we can understand how that happened,” Morales said.

Drilon said he expects PhilHealth to “reduce” its COVID-19 testing packages “to reasonable levels.”

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