National Health Insurance Pilot Programme extended

by: Dominica Vibes News - July 26, 2018
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The National Health Insurance Programme (NHIP) will be extended to include children up to the age of sixteen.

Government provided five million dollars ($5 million) from the proceeds of its Citizenship By Investment Programme (CBIP) to the Dominica Social Security for administration of the pilot programme launched in April 2017.

A then three month old girl was the first beneficiary under the programme who was diagnosed with cataract in both eyes. She was able to receive surgery in Barbados in March 2017 to save her sight with help from the pilot national health insurance programme.

By the program’s one year anniversary twelve infants, ranging in age from two days to two years and seven months, were assisted in accessing critical medical care overseas, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said while delivering the 2018/2019 National Budget at Parliament on Wednesday 25 July 2018.

At that time, the total amount disbursed in respect of such cases was seven hundred and eighty-two thousand, six hundred and seventy-eight dollars and fourteen cents ($782,678.14).

When the programme was launched it targeted single mothers resident or living permanently in Dominica, both nationals and non-nationals, under the age of thirty-five who are pregnant or have children three years or younger.

The benefits include private sector services not available from or provided by the government, exclusive of those provided at the primary health care level, services not available locally where beneficiaries need to travel and is subject to referral from the relevant specialists within the government system and or approved by the medical services director. Referrals shall be restricted to a local medical consultant or the hospital medical director.

Moreover, up to eighty percent (80%) on the invoices and bills shall be paid by the NHIP with the claimant being responsible for the remaining twenty percent (20%). In the event where the claimant does not have immediate access to funds for that twenty percent (20%) the amount will be given as a small loan with an arranged repayment schedule and in extreme cases, a government grant shall be provided based on the recommendation of the DSS.

“As at June 25, 2018, the number of cases assisted under the Pilot reached sixteen (16) with a total disbursement of $1.3 million,” Mr. Skerrit said.

“Based on the experience of the pilot programme over the last year, we have decided that the age limit for children accessing assistance under the programme be extended to age 16 years,” he added.

Families are reminded that if they do possess private insurance that their claims should first be made to the private insurance after which any shortfall would be considered by the NHI Pilot programme.

“This pilot is the second step toward the establishment of a comprehensive national health insurance programme for our citizens,” Mr. Skerrit stated.