Tue | Jan 22, 2019

NHF pays $3.8 billion in subsidies

Published:Tuesday | January 12, 2016 | 12:00 AM

The National Health Fund (NHF) has reported subsidy payments of more than $3.8 billion to cardholders for claims made in 2015, a six per cent increase on the $3.59 billion paid out in 2014.

The sum represents approximately 3.9 million claims made by 228,000 Jamaicans, using their NHF cards at participating pharmacies islandwide, last year. An additional 11,000 persons benefited from the subsidy last year, compared to 2014.

The NHF also saw an increase of six per cent in the number of persons enrolled for benefits in 2015, a six per cent increase, compared to the previous year. The 2015 figures indicate that 29,256 persons enrolled for benefits, up from 27,538 in 2014.

common thread

Chief executive officer of NHF, Everton Anderson, said there was a common thread for the persons who enrolled in 2015. "These persons enrolled for an average of three conditions per person, representing 86,477 cases of chronic illnesses. We had 19,776 with high blood pressure, 12,020 with high cholesterol and 11,348 with vascular disease," he noted.

There was an eight per cent increase in the number of persons enrolling for the Jamaica Drugs for the Elderly Programme (JADEP) during the year, with 11,299 persons over the age of 60 years enrolling for JADEP, compared to 10,410 in 2014.

Another area of major improvement for the NHF was community health days and screening.

A total of 74 NHF community-health days were conducted during the year, in which 49,411 screening tests were done. An additional 13,074 screening tests were also sponsored by NHF for various health fairs throughout the year.

According to the CEO, this augured well for the efforts of the agency to support the Government's five-year strategic plan to tackle non-communicable diseases.

"The role of screening in identifying chronic illnesses is an important part of our work," he said.

"We are encouraging persons to make use of the community-health days and NHF-sponsored health fairs in the various communities. Make use of them, come out and get screened for chronic illnesses. It is important to know your health status and take action to prevent or control these diseases," Anderson urged.

The NHF also began screening for hearing and vision in primary schools in October 2015. Four primary schools were visited and 1,246 tests done.