With P25M in COVID-19 tests daily, PhilHealth debt to PRC balloons to P623M
MANILA, Philippines — With tests for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) chargeable to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) reaching P25 million a day, the state insurer’s standing debt to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has now ballooned to P623 million.
“It’s really the non-payment of bills on time that is killing us here because they owe us now, as of December 1, P623 million,” PRC chairman Senator Richard Gordon said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel on Wednesday.
“It’s a moving target…We are consuming about P25 million a day in testing, it keeps moving and moving,” he added.
As of Nov. 6, PhilHealth has paid P700 million of its debt to the PRC. At the time, the state insurer’s standing balance was at P377 million.
Under the original agreement between the PRC and PhilHealth, Gordon said the state insurer should maintain only a debt of P100 million.
“We want to compress it (debt) in such a way as in the original contract, they only owe us a hundred million para hindi naman kami nasa alanganin [So we’re not in trouble],” he said, noting that the humanitarian organization is also helping in relief efforts in areas devastated by recent typhoons.
Gordon added that both parties have agreed that PhilHealth should pay PRC within three days after a bill on the conducted COVID-19 tests is sent to the state insurance company.
“Right now, they’re averaging practically nine days sometimes even 12 days before they pay,” Gordon noted.
While PhilHealth president and CEO Dante Gierran has assured Gordon that they would settle their balance, the senator said he could not help but feel worried.
“We talked about it and he (Gierran) said ‘We have plenty of money, we’re gonna pay. Don’t worry, we’re gonna pay.’ Well, I’m still worrying,” Gordon said.
The senator surmised that the delayed payment of PhilHealth to the PRC is due to the bureaucracy.
“Bureaucratic delays. It’s bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is really, I think they’re trying. There are many good people. But of course, in the past, they were liberal with the money, and a lot of money was lost,” Gordon said, citing the investigation into alleged anomalies within the state insurer.
“The bureaucracy demands a lot of things,” he added.
He said the PRC has been providing PhilHealth with complete data on who the organization is testing.
“Para walang gulo, ito ang ti-nest namin,” he said.
(To avoid any trouble, these are the people we have tested.)
“We do have a barcode, a QR code, everything has a QR code. All they have to do is to look at it and it’s there,” Gordon added.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.