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The shocking truth of COVID-19 treatment cost in the Philippines

There is no exact data and specific costing yet of COVID-19 hospitalization and treatment in the country but on a rough estimation, you will have to spend at least P1 million if you ever got tested and found positive of this disease.

Before you trooped to malls and gather in public places, think a thousand times if it’s worth it.

Medical expenses for COVID-19 treatment may vary depending on the severity of the condition, the hospital where the patient is admitted, confinement duration, and other factors.

A 60-year-old patient had to spend P1.4 million on hospital bills during a one week stay confinement to a high-end private hospital in Alabang, Muntinlupa after getting rejected by other hospitals because they’re already at full capacity.

Another patient, a 56-year old lady was admitted in a private hospital in Metro Manila for 15 days and her bill totaled to P1.3 million.

According to her, a bulk of her medical bill went to laboratory tests, doctors’ professional fees, along with charges for intubation, ventilator and respirator use throughout her confinement.

“The doctors’ fee varies. I had 15 doctors with different specializations and that cost around P300,000. While the medication, intubation, laboratory tests, ventilator and respirator cost around P500,000 already,” she added.

Fortunately, she did not need to pay anything for her hospital bill, thanks to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

On March 26, PhilHealth announced that it would shoulder all hospital expenses of Filipinos should they be diagnosed with COVID-19.

Under the Universal Health Care Law, PhilHealth is tasked with implementing the National Health Insurance Program, which covers all Filipino citizens.

The government will continue to cover the hospital bills incurred by patients who tested positive for COVID-19. But the state-owned agency has imposed limits on bearing the cost of hospital expenses.

This was announced by PhilHealth Vice President for Corporate Affairs Dr. Shirley Domingo during a Health department virtual press briefing last April.

In March, PhilHealth said it would shoulder the full cost of treatment of COVID-19 cases from February 1 until April 14, 2020 only in accordance with Advisory No. 2020-022.

However, PhilHealth came out with the case rates from costing data they got from hospitals and said that they will.continue to assist hospital bills of COVID-19 patients.

“Tuloy-tuloy po ang bayad o tulong ng PhilHealth sa mga naapektuhan ng COVID kung kailangan nila maospital kasi ‘yung iba akala nila after April 14, wala na kami itutulong sa kanila,” said Domingo. “Tuloy-tuloy po ‘yon.”

PhilHealth’s newly released case rates are based on the severity of the patient’s pneumonia.

  • For patients with mild pneumonia, PhilHealth will pay P43,997 off the total cost.
  • For patients with moderate pneumonia, PhilHealth will pay P143,267 off the total cost.
  • For patients with severe pneumonia, PhilHealth will pay P333,519 off the total cost.
  • For patients with critical pneumonia, PhilHealth will pay P786,384 off the total cost.

The case rates took effect on April 15, in levels one to three hospitals.

According to Domingo, all Filipino citizens, even those who are not members of PhilHealth, are covered by the case rates.

“Universal Healthcare na po tayo ngayon,” Domingo pointed out. “Lahat ng Pilipino, miyembro na po kayo. Part ng Universal Healthcare Law sinasabi na immediate eligibility, lalo na po ngayon na emergency, nasa pandemic tayo. Kung non-member kayo, pwede kayo mag-avail.”

PhilHealth also urged hospitals to not ask for advanced payments from any suspected COVID-19 patient.


In the case of former Sen. Heherson Alvarez and his wife, Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, PhilHealth shouldered the approximately P7 million hospital bill of the couple.

Domingo said the couple’s hospitalization, which began when they were admitted at the Manila Doctors Hospital on March 24, was covered by the company’s policy of full payment of the patient’s hospital bills.

They were just so lucky.

But even if PhilHealth helps foot the bill of your hospitalization, you still need to recover at home and need medixations for at least two weeks or until you are completely healed.

The days you spent in the hospitals means you were not able to work and provide financially for your family during those crucial times.

Do you have a regular income? A regular job? A fat bank account?

We saw photos and videos of people visiting the malls like there’s no existing coronavirus threats, di ba? Heavy traffic jams from private vehicles are back on the road as soon as the eased quarantine was declared. Hay nako.

There are reports of some people not wearing their face masks and violating physical distancing protocol.

These kind of attitude and behavior will only throw away two months worth in quarantine of flattening the curve if we incessantly disregard protocols.

And it’s not only you that’s at risk. Anyone who gets close contact with you are susceptible to contamination. Whether you are infected or not, there is a high probability that COVID-19 transmission will soon get to you if you’re not following precautionary measures and safety protocols.

Unless you have millions of pesos to spend for your hospitalization, good luck in joining the mob!

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