A progressive lawmaker wants the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to make an urgent review of its benefits packages following reports that these do not cover COVID-19 patients placed in tents outside hospitals already at full capacity.
Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas issued the call on Wednesday after Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite said in a House hearing last week that these patients were being charged P1,000 per hour.
"Letting patients suffer in tents is one thing, but charging them P1,000 per hour and saying that this is not part of the PhilHealth coverage is just plain evil," Brosas said in a statement.
She added that if President Duterte had only prioritized the building of COVID-19 hospitals over nonessential infrastructure projects, then those suffering from the respiratory disease would not have to suffer and die in tents.
PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Dante Gierran earlier said that those admitted to hospital tents due to the lack of beds should be covered by the agency's in-patient COVID-19 packages.
But he clarified that this did not apply to those staying in nonaccredited Community Isolation Unit tents.
Brosas said this was not indicated in the guidelines, adding that "PhilHealth must stop frantically fanning the flames of public outrage with mere empty words. The Filipino people deserve more than that."
She urged PhilHealth to release a new set of guidelines of COVID-19 benefits and include patients forced to stay in nonaccredited Community Isolation Unit tents.
Mr. Duterte earlier ordered the state health insurer to also cover the expenses of COVID-19 patients in hospital tents.
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