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Muntinlupa to lift liquor ban 

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PhilHealth reviewing Covid-19 package 

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The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) said it will come out with a lower benefit package rate for patients afflicted with the deadly infection.

PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales said the government-run corporation is now in the process or reviewing its existing benefit package for COVID-19 patients and would likely publish the new and lower test rates next week.  

“These rates are under constant review and we will publish new rates as soon as review is completed,” Morales said yesterday. 

Under the existing package of benefits, PhilHealth will pay private hospitals P8,150 if all services for the testing are procured and provided by the testing laboratory and P5,450 if the test kits used were donated.

PhilHealth will pay P2,710 to government hospitals for test kits donated to the testing laboratory.

“These rates were formulated in the early part of the pandemic based on the statement of accounts collected from different hospitals,” Morales said as he explained that PhilHealth could not dictate the cost of the test kits.

So far, PhilHealth has paid P141 million for the tests done by the Philippine Red Cross. Hospitals are given 120 days after discharge to file claims for COVID patients.

Legislators are claiming that PhilHealth is paying for overpriced COVID-19 testing kits, which may cause an “unnecessary depletion” of the agency’s resources.

Malacañang said it would look into the overpricing reports as presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. promised to refer the issue to the Office of the Special Assistant to the President headed by Undersecretary Jesus Melchor Quitain. 

“I will forward the new accusations to Secretary Quitain because it is (him) who is conducting an investigation into the PhilHealth issues, which resulted in the dismissal of some members of the Board of Directors of PhilHealth,” Roque said.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon described the alleged overpricing as a “total waste and abuse of taxpayers’ money.”

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