The Saint Lucian economy will see enormous economic benefits with the implementation of National Health Insurance, including a more equitable society.

National Health Insurance (NHI) is a system of health insurance that insures a national population against the costs of Health Care.

According to Chief Economist of Research and Policy in the Department of Finance, Janai Leonce, Saint Lucia sees relatively high out-of-pocket expenditures for Health Care.

“Each dollar that you spend out-of-pocket, that is money that you could spend on other economic activity, education and what have you. And health care or paying for your health care has the potential to bankrupt many persons to the extent that they are not covered, or they do not have health insurance coverage.”

Only 18 percent of persons of working age have health insurance. Reasons for this include policy designs and perceptions towards insurance.

Further design of the upcoming NHI system hopes to implement an affordable essential benefits package.

“ One of the things the National Health Insurance scheme is trying to do us meet with the private insurance providers and see to what extent we can design standardized products that can be at a price point that persons would be able to afford but also designed in a way that can change the attitude and the perception with respect to insurance a bit and to the extent that you can do that, a lot of the debilitating costs that persons need to incur should a health event happen to them that would be spared given the fact that they have health insurance coverage and that money can be spent on education, child care and a whole host of other areas.”

Government also intends to undertake the costs of coverage for those unable to afford it.

From the Ministry of Health & Wellness I’m Jacques Hinkson-Compton.

By GVD

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