Businesses updated on national health insurance plans

Press Release:-  Officials from the Ministry of Health, the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce and business agencies, met recently to discuss ways in which healthcare coverage can be boosted for citizens of Saint Lucia.

According to a 2005/2006 poverty assessment, approximately three-quarters of Saint Lucia’s population does not have health insurance coverage, and those with health insurance coverage are largely concentrated in the higher income brackets.

It is against this background that the Government of Saint Lucia has committed to providing national health coverage to its population, as those most in need are being denied access to healthcare due to financial constraints.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Felix St. Hill, said no one will be left out of the national healthcare program.

“I think the important thing about implementing national health insurance is the fact that quite a number of persons are uninsured and we have a large number of persons who also cannot afford to pay for services with regard to their own health. The health insurance concept is that no person in Saint Lucia will be left unattended by virtue of the fact that they are out of pocket. So national health insurance will certainly mean that every Saint Lucian citizen will be afforded an opportunity to get access to healthcare, whether it is secondary or tertiary or at the primary healthcare level.”

Meanwhile, President of the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Martin Dorville, said several factors must be considered before this project can be implemented.

“It appears that there is still a lot to be finalized, there is nothing at a final stage as yet but it is not too early for a lot of the issues and questions to be posed so that they can be factored into the way forward and that’s what we did today. I think there were many profound questions by members of the business sector. We are concerned about how it is going to be implemented, what kind of regulatory authority will be there, what governance issues will be put in place, and what the process of engagement will be.”

The Government of Saint Lucia is currently seeking support from the World Bank and other agencies such as the European Union to complement the efforts of this intended project, which is aimed to provide health coverage across the population and ensure that a quality package of health services is made available.

The Quarterly General Meeting of the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce was convened on May 24, at the Bay Gardens Hotel.

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