PhilHealth: COVID-19 benefits to continue despite halt on reimbursement program


Posted at Aug 14 2020 11:58 AM

MANILA - Members of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) undergoing medical treatment for COVID-19 can be assured of uninterrupted benefits, the state health insurance provider announced Friday after it suspended its interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM) amid a corruption investigation.

"Regular COVID-19 in-patient benefits, testing and community isolation packages shall continue to be enjoyed by its affected members," PhilHealth said in a tweet.

PhilHealth earlier announced the suspension of the program to review its overall implementation following the call of some lawmakers over allegedly irregular allocation of funds to some hospitals amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the IRM, PhilHealth provides "substantial aid" to eligible hospitals directly hit by "fortuitous events" such as the pandemic so that medical centers can continue to provide health care to Filipinos.

The IRM became the subject of scrutiny after it was revealed that the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City received the biggest allocation from PhilHealth for COVID-19 payments even though there are more infections in Metro Manila - the virus epicenter of the country.

Malacañang had said that it sees nothing wrong with the bigger amount received by the hospital as it noted its size.

The state insurer on Friday, however, insisted on the legality of the IRM saying the suspension is only for a review of the overall implementation, and to resolve issues arising from Congressional inquiries.

"IRM is legal and necessary for the country's overall COVID-19 response," PhilHealth said.