COVID-19 testing coverage for returning OFWs continues – PhilHealth
The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) announced the continuing coverage of COVID-19 test for returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in accordance with IATF Resolution No. 168, s. 2022.
In its Circular No. 2022-0022 published on November 15, 2022, PhilHealth emphasizes the coverage of OFWs and clarifies the modification of priority groups for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) testing based on applicable guidelines set by the Department of Health (DOH).
PhilHealth earlier published Circular 2022-0018 aligning its SARS-CoV-2 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 co-morbidities, including those at high risk for severe disease; A4 – persons with symptoms of COVID-19 and not identified as A1, A2, and A3; A5 – returning OFWs and Filipino nationals aged 18 and above.
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 days from the last day of exposure.
It further states that PhilHealth shall cover the COVID-19 testing of those required to undergo facility-based quarantine until the release of their negative RT-PCR test taken on the fifth day from the date of their arrival, per IATF Resolution No. 168, s. 2022 – these are returning OFWs who are unvaccinated, partially unvaccinated, or individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently validated; and fully vaccinated Filipino nationals aged 18 and above who have received complete primary series COVID-19 vaccine but without booster shot.
PhilHealth’s coverage for plate-based RT-PCR test ranges from Php 800 to Php 2,800 and from Php 500 to Php 2,450 for cartridge-based PCR 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, 13 of which are in Central Visayas.
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