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Retirees say no to tax on group health insurance

Published:Sunday | March 19, 2017 | 12:00 AM

The Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) has joined several other groups expressing concern over the Government's proposal to impose general consumption tax (GCT) on group health insurance.

Finance Minister Audley Shaw announced the new tax as part of a package to finance the Government's expenditure for the 2017-2018 fiscal year and it was immediately greeted with howls of protests.

Now the CCRP, which, through a partnership with Sagicor, offers a group health insurance package to its members, has added its voice to those concerned.

"Most of our members are pensioners. Contributing to the group health plan is financially challenging; however, they are prepared to make this sacrifice to ensure they have some measure of coverage," said founder and executive chair of CCRP, Jean Lowrie-Chin.

She said to demand that they pay more by way of GCT would make the plan unaffordable for some members, thereby putting more pressure on the already overburdened public-health system.

"Given the current situation with our public health-care system, there should be no deterrent for persons to subscribe to health insurance plans," said Lowrie-Chin.

"The CCRP is appealing to the powers that be to rethink this decision as implementation of this measure will adversely affect those who are most vulnerable in our society," added Lowrie-Chin

The CCRP is a non-profit membership organisation for persons aged 50 and over.

The organisation currently has a membership of more than 1,800. Members are entitled to numerous benefits, including eligibility for enrolment in a group major medical health insurance plan that offers a lifetime coverage of $5 million.

Shaw is expected to react to the criticisms of the tax on group health insurance when he closes the Budget Debate on Thursday.