PhilHealth hikes 'Z benefit' for breast cancer patients to P1.4M

By Raymond Carl Dela Cruz

February 23, 2024, 5:00 pm

MANILA – The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) has increased its “Z-benefit” package for breast cancer patients from PHP100,000 to PHP1.4 million.

PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Emmanuel Ledesma Jr. said Friday the increase has been approved and is on top of the 30-percent increase in all PhilHealth benefits.

“[Breast cancer] is really very common with everyone. So that's 14 times, 1,400 percent increase. I think that's just one of the accomplishments that can put a smile on the face of the Filipino people,” he said in a press conference in Pasig City.

Z-benefit packages are services and rates for “Case Type Z” or catastrophic illnesses that could result in prolonged hospitalization and poor outcomes if early intervention is not done.

This typically includes hospital room and board fees, in-hospital medications, laboratory examinations, operating room fees, and professional fees.

On Feb. 14, an inflation adjustment factor of 30 percent for existing case rates took effect following Ledesma’s signing of PhilHealth Circular No. 2024-001 on Jan. 29.

However, he said case rate packages that were increased in the past five years --some by more than 30 percent-- are not covered by the inflation adjustment.

These include the coverage for ischemic stroke from PHP28,000 to PHP76,000 (171 percent increase), hemorrhagic stroke from PHP38,000 to PHP80,000 (111 percent increase), and coverage for high-risk pneumonia from PHP32,000 to PHP90,100 (182 percent increase).

PhilHealth also increased the number of hemodialysis sessions for Stage 5 chronic kidney disease patients from 90 sessions to 156 sessions per year or an increase from PHP234,000 to PHP405,600 at PHP2,600 per session, a 74-percent increase. (PNA)