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  • Writer's pictureClara

Poor, vulnerable to benefit from NHI

28 June 2021

The upcoming National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme will ensure the poor and vulnerable are not left behind. Upon launch of the NHI system, the Government of Saint Lucia seeks to provide the more underprivileged elements of society with insurance coverage.

Chief Economist for Research and Policy in the Department of Finance, Janai Leonce, says the cost of coverage for those unable to afford will be subsidized by the state.

“One of the notions that the state is looking to do is where persons are poor and vulnerable and what not, to ensure that those persons are provided for with insurance policies that will allow them to access an array of services and benefits that they would otherwise not have, so care is being placed in the design of this that whatever is to be designed, the poor, the vulnerable and what have you, you will be proxy means tested to ensure that they meet the requisite standards for poverty and vulnerability.”

Further development of the NHI system will determine the most pragmatic model to produce a public safety net.

“One of the things we have been working with the World Bank and our other stakeholders as we are in the design element is to address which modality is best so would it be best for the state to purchase all of the policies then have persons who are poor and vulnerable receive from the state and also persons who are not poor and vulnerable who would like to purchase insurance to do that through the state as well or whether it be best to have the state simply focus on the poor and vulnerable and allow your non-poor to be able to access through their employer, through a provider of their choice or so forth “

The intent of the final phase of NHI is to include all demographics including the underprivileged and persons in retirement age.

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