COVID-19 testing for returning OFWs continues – PhilHealth

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) announced the continuing coverage of COVID-19 test for returning OFWs in accordance with IATF Resolution No. 168, s. 2022. 

In its PhilHealth Advisory 2022-0026 released September 8, 2022, the PhilHealth Board in its special meeting presided by Department of Health Officer-in-Charge and Board Chair Dr. Maria Rosario S. Vergeire has approved the said benefit in acknowledgment of the role of OFWs. 

Specific guidelines through a Circular will be released soon, with retroactive effect to August 31, 2022, the Advisory further noted.

PhilHealth earlier published Circular 2022-0018 aligning its COVID-19 testing coverage with DOH Memorandum No. 2022-013 or the “Updated Guidelines on Quarantine, Isolation and Testing for COVID-19 Response and Case Management for the Omicron Variant”.

Consequently, the state insurer will pay for RT-PCR tests (either plate-based and cartridge-based) of the following priority groups: A1 – healthcare workers, A2 – Senior citizens, A3 – persons with comorbidities and high risk for severe disease and ALL except A1, A2 and A3 with symptoms of COVID-19.

The Circular also emphasized that COVID-19 testing is not recommended for screening asymptomatic individuals and for asymptomatic close contacts. Instead, symptom monitoring is recommended. Should testing be used, it should be done at least five (5) days from the last day of exposure. 

PhilHealth covers plate-based RT-PCR test from P800 – P2,800 and cartridge-based PCR from P500 – P2,450 depending on the services covered. Members and their qualified dependents may avail of COVID-19 Testing Package at any of the 230 accredited laboratories nationwide. 

The state health insurer also reminded the public of its facility-based rapid antigen test (RAT) package worth P500, which is available to symptomatic patients being managed by COVID-19 Home Isolation Benefit Package and COVID-19 Community Isolation Benefit Package providers. Patients admitted in accredited hospitals and infirmaries/ dispensaries may also avail of the RAT package. 

Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

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