Athlete insurance on track
Minister with responsibility for sport, Natalie Neita-Headley, yesterday welcomed the announcement of details surrounding the Jamaican Athletes Insurance Plan (JAIP) during a meeting with representatives from the island's sporting associations at The Courtleigh Hotel & Suites.
The full value of the policy is yet to be revealed as the Government takes the programme to tender, but under the initiative, the Government will provide basic coverage to 1,500 international athletes during the initial stage, with three-year funding commitments having been secured from the Sport Development Foundation, the Tourism Enhancement Fund and the National Health Fund.
"We have gotten to the point now where we are seeking to go to tender to ensure that there is fairness and probity in the programme. We also want to ensure that we offer our athletes the best possible coverage at the most cost-effective prices," Neita-Headley told The Gleaner, shortly after the programme was announced by Christopher Samuda, Convenor of the Committee on Athletes' Development and Well-Being, National Council on Sports.
Under the JAIP plan, the Government will cover 95 per cent of the premium for a basic insurance-coverage plan, with the athletes required to meet certain criteria to remain eligible.
Athletes will first of all need to be registered members of a national association; will have to be a national representative; or be currently enrolled in a national development programme. Eligible athletes will also have to agree to a pre-participation examination and participate in at least two Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission training sessions.
Samuda, however, noted that in cases where a sporting discipline provides limited or no opportunity for international representation, the associations might negotiate on the athlete's behalf based on their professional status.
The basic plan, or 'Bronze' package as it is called, will cover routine and serious illnesses such as hypertension, heart condition, stroke, allergies, among others, as well as doctors' visits, diagnostics, prescriptions and major medicals.
Athletes will be able to upgrade to 'Silver' and 'Gold' packages that add athlete-related injury coverage through sports accidents and chronic injuries, as well as group life, accidental death and dismemberment and medical reimbursement.
The committee will continue to engage the stakeholders ahead of a submission to Cabinet.