THE government's health insurance covers confinement due to dengue, said Dr. Rey Aquino, president and executive officer of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth).

Aquino said patients diagnosed with Stage 1 dengue fever and are confined in a tertiary or Level 3 hospital can avail themselves of up to P500 per day for hospital room and board fees, and P4,200 for drugs and medicines, which are included in the Philippine National Drug Formulary.

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Aquino said a total of P3,200 will also be shouldered by PhilHealth for x-ray and other laboratory exams conducted during the period of confinement while a maximum of P1,200 is available for the professional fee of the attending physician.

"These benefits may be availed of in any of the over 1,300 PhilHealth-accredited hospitals nationwide," he said.

"Members only need to ascertain that their member data records are updated, especially if the patient is their dependent; and that they have made sufficient premium contributions," he added.

The national health insurance agency reported a total of P191 million for confinements due to dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever. The amount represents payments for 24,583 claims received nationwide.

Aquino also asked government hospitals to waive any amount in excess of what PhilHealth covers for members and their dependents admitted to ward-type accommodation.

Last week, the Department of Health reported that dengue cases in the country have reached 54,659 from January 1 to August 14, which is 75 percent higher than the same period last year.

The National Epidemiology Center (NEC) reports that dengue cases are high in the National Capital Region, Western Visayas, Soccskargen, Calabarzon, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Davao Region.

Meanwhile, health officials in Negros Occidental urged the people to observe cleanliness in all places, especially in houses, schools as well as offices and all other establishments, to make sure that breeding places for dengue-carrying mosquitoes are eliminated.

The all-out campaign on dengue prevention in the province was further intensified after the Provincial Dengue Summit was called last week led by the Provincial Dengue Task Force.

Board Member Melvin Ibañez, chairman of the Provincial Board Health Committee and of the Provincial Dengue Task Force, emphasized the observance of the 4 o'clock habit, which encourages the regular replacement of water in flower vases and emptying of all water containers that are potential habitat of dengue-carrying mosquitoes. (Teresa Ellera-Dulla)