Health insurance to cost more

| 20/03/2009

(CNS): The long criticized inadequate coverage offered under the Standard Health Insurance Contract is neither sufficient for patients or in line with today’s healthcare costs, Health Minister Anthony Eden said in the Legislative Assembly yesterday. Announcing a review of the plan held by many people on the island, he said that increased coverage would not come without an increase in premiums. “I know that especially our low-wage workers face difficulty in getting robust health insurance coverage,” said Eden.

He continued, “There is a general consensus that the current level of health care benefits listed in the Standard Health Insurance Contract (are) not in line with today’s healthcare costs. However, I caution that any legislated increase in benefits will be matched with increased cost of premiums for employers and employees.”

He said that if the country was to ensure optimal well-being for all, affordable health insurance was needed. He said that the Health Insurance Commission Board had made recommendations to his ministry on an enhanced Standard Health Insurance Contract (SHIC1) plan of benefits and had engaged an overseas company to derive a premium rate for providing benefits under a new proposed Standard Health Insurance Contract.

The minister said that the report states: “…expanded benefits under the new plan would lead to significant increases in premium rates, and the segment of the insured population that would be most affected by the premium increases are persons insured only for SHIC 1 benefits (those without supplementary benefits).”

The current premium rate for the Standard Health Insurance Coverage range from $67 – $120 per month, and before revising the law government must ensure that the mandatory plan of health insurance benefits is not only adequate but is also affordable to the average employee/employer, the minister said .

“Amending the standard health care plan is clearly not a decision that government can make in a vacuum,” he said “As the minister who introduced mandatory health insurance coverage in these islands, I wish to remind everyone that the Standard Health Insurance Contract was meant to cover on-island care, brought in to transfer some of the cost from government to the private sector.

He added that insurance was never meant to cover catastrophic care overseas, but provide people, at the very least, access to inpatient service at our local hospitals. But to the best of his knowledge no one – Caymanian or non-Caymanian – has been denied access locally to urgent healthcare services due to a lack of adequate health insurance coverage.

This, however, contradicts various media reports in recent times, including the case of Shellesha Woodstock, who gave birth to a premature baby aboard a Cayman Airways flight to Jamaica after being told by HSA officials, while in labour, she could not have the child in Cayman. There have also been numerous reports of people on basic health care packages not being able to receive critical care as the package in insufficient to cover airlift or services from overseas medical centres. Carol Romero, an employee of Blockbuster Video at Grand Harbour, died last month after she was run down by a drunk driver, and the fact that she had insufficient coverage was cited as a contributor to her death as emergency centres in overseas jurisdictions refused to take her. While the CI government often guarantees the excess costs for Caymanians in need of critical overseas care, this is not the case for work-permit holders.

The minister stated that there was a need to cost-effectively bridge the gap between the benefits in the basic standard plan and those in what is called the premier plan, and he said the issue of affordable health care insurance for all remained high on his ministry’s agenda, but did not offer details of when changes would be likely to take place.

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Comments (11)

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  1. Jedi Dread says:

    This government gonna make unna so broke it na funny, or it too late already, na tru

    they don’t do nothing for small business, no future in tourism, no future in finance, definitely no future in boxing, you can’t trust they insurance, Cayman Brac still a mess… on and on and on and on.

    on top of dat… na no beach… well, na no beach for you

    and the most frightening… Cayman is no longer safe for women…

    you all na tired, man?

    this remind me of the ol’ CIA destabilization technique, like wha Oliver North and friends did in Central America…

    Cayman, on behalf of Third World, welcome.

    – Jedi Dread –

    PS.  Where’s the helicopter? Sabrina could have used that y’ kna.
     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Eden – Please retire.

      It has taken the PPM almost four years to realize that insurance coverage is not adequate.

      Wow! they difinately cannot accuse this Government of being pro-active.

       

  2. Anonymous says:

    The worst minister of health yet……..please retired for the good of this beloved cayman islands…

  3. Anonymous says:

    As a UDP supporter, which does NOT mean that I subscribe to everthing they decide on, but mostly so, I believe that Tony Eden is the only Minister that has ANY integrity besides maybe Arden…He is making an honest effort to do right by the people, however contrained by budgets and his spendthrift team. Tony Eden is a gentleman and trying to fix this health system so that it works for all of us. within budget..It’s far from perfect, but I have found that if you call him, you can find him, and the answer you get from him may not be what you want, but it is truth , always.  Imagine if he had the funds available that the others do…helicopters, football competions, boxing matches, etc. Tony is the one that tells you the truth, hard as is may be. I don’t know how he endded up affiiliated with these BOZOS.

    He is an honest man, with moral and ethical strength. Tony , I support you all the way, I am sorry from the pit of my stomach that the fellows that run with you are such a profound disappointment to us all. I say jump ship and help Mark or Dwayne, or any of the other young candidates that you feel are worthy . I know, in my heart, that you know your partners have come up short,,,,Can you lay down to sleep at night with a clear conscience supporting Chuckie, and feel confident that he has done the best by us? I count on you to remain the man that you always have been…I wish you the best, always.

     

  4. Anonymous says:

    People who can’t afford medical or dental care are the only ones who can understand how it feels to have medical or dental problems and not be able to go about getting care and treatment for them.  To ask or expect those who can afford it to try to understand is a joke! 

    We need to hear the voices of those who cannot afford any proper medical or dental care, to hear what they have to say, to listen to their pains, frustrations and needs!  

    When will these heads and leaders ever comprehend to listen to the ones in need of proper medical and dental care and how to go about helping them?

    Do they really think the way to help them is to make a higher insurance premium that they cannot cannot cannot afford?

    The problem with the Government is that alot of money is mis-spent and wasted!  If they would take some of the money that is mis-spent and wasted, and budget it into a proper health care system for those who can’t afford the proper care they need, then there would not be this health care crisis!

    (By the way, just wondering, has Department of Tourism sent in their way overdue accounting reports yet???)

    To keep pressuring the people who can barely scrape by (which is a majority of the people) with a higher cost of living, causes Crime to Rise!  That’s all, Crime goes up!!  Is that a good solution just because the Government can’t spend some of the money that they waste, to spend some of it wisely instead on a good health care system?  Too much times Government is paying out way too much to Contractors who are grossly overcharging them for their services, alot of money gets wasted that way!   And it is the People’s money, the tax-payers money, the same ones who cannot afford proper health care coverage!! 

    In Cayman you don’t work to pay tax to the Government, all you have to do is buy something – groceries, clothes, etc.  That is how they get their tax money from you – the import duties.  I’m sure they make way more tax money that way than if they were to stop that and then just charge you to pay tax on your paychecks!  People who don’t work wouldn’t have to pay tax, but here in Cayman, tax is not charged by working in a job.  All you have to do is live here and you are paying huge tax everytime you purchase anything!  The Tourists are tax-payers here too!!  Yes in the US you pay maybe a 6% or so sales tax on things you purchase at stores, but here it’s like 20% on most things!

    There needs to be a better system set up to stop the wasting of the tax payers money thereby slamming them with a higher cost of living instead of using their money wisely to provide for them!  The tax payers money needs to be handled responsibly and wisely with integrity by the Government, then the people would not be in any health care crisis.  Government needs to stop wasting so much money!  Get accountants who are skilled and have integrity along with leaders who have integrity!!  Because if any or both have no integrity, then God help us!!  Or if they both have integrity and the accountants are not skilled, then God help us too! But the meaning of the word integrity does come with wisdom attached to it, so really and truly, the word integrity by itself can cover it!!  No integrity, no solution!!

    Wake Up!! 

  5. Anonymous says:

    It has been said many times. The politicians (who can afford any premium) do not care about us.

    Why aren’t we added to the millions in England who have free health care ?

    Adding a few thousand Caymanians to the British health care system shouldn’t be much of an issue.

    We should go on the street and demonstrate, but we don’t and that is why we get what we deserve.

    And I agree with previous post, it will never change, because WE don’t change.

    We rely to much on the almighty one above, and politicians are making clever use of that to enrich themselves even more.

    As was said by the Egyptian philosophers thousands of years ago:   Religeon is a blessing for the uneducated, annoying for the intellects, but usefull to the politicians.

    Wake up !!

    • Anonymous says:

      "Why aren’t we added to the millions in England who have free health care ? Adding a few thousand Caymanians to the British health care system shouldn’t be much of an issue".

      Er, it’s not really free. They pay national insurance premiums for it. Second, you wait forever to get treated. Far from an ideal system.   

  6. Anonymous says:

    The standard CINICO premium for an elderly person is $192.00 per month.  This does not cover anything but the basics, no chemo or radiation, so anyone with basic cover diagnosed with cancer, literally has a death sentence hanging over them unelss they can find the money for treatment.  Many people don’t even know this.  Standard cover MUST cover people for cancer treatments but how can an elderly person on a pension afford even more than these high premiums?

  7. Anonymous says:

    all that happens is we who can’t afford no adequate health insurance often have to suffer with our problems with no help because of lack of being able to afford the help.  As far as i’m concerned it will never change.  Because one thing is we can’t afford higher premiums.  Cost of living here in Cayman is very expensive and that is a main issue as well. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    Headline should read: "Health Insurance to cover and cost more."

  9. Anonymous says:

    If the premium where a percentage of ones salary, with a maximum for underpaid workers, there wouldn’t be a problem. Second, the employers contribution could be increased, dependng on the profits made.

    And with a decent minimum wage we wouldn’t even be talking about low-income workers.

    The issue we have here, is the greed of the business owners on this island.

    Unfortunately these business owners also govern the country.

    Well, we have put them there ourselves. So maybe with the coming election we have an oppertunity to vote for none-business owners. But we won’t.

    The best people to govern any country, are the people that come from the people themselves, are not connected to any business and are certainly not related to any religion.

    The family of the our current leader is involved in many businesses on this island and abroad, they benefit from underpaying workers. And if I read on wikipedia that he prefers this country to be a god-fearing nation, then I am getting really scared.

    Vote for the people or don’t vote at all.