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Sagicor insurance benefits barrier unconscionable

Published:Saturday | July 12, 2014 | 12:00 AM


Spanish Town, St Catherine

I am concerned about the Government Pensioners Administrative Services (GPASO) health plan operated by Sagicor. It states that widows/widowers are not eligible for health coverage if they are 55 years and under.

I went on the Sagicor website for GPASO, under the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section, and saw:


I am a widow and I am currently receiving my husbands' pension from the Accountant General's Department. Am I eligible to be enrolled to the GPASO Health Plan?

YES. If a pensioner who is enrolled on the GPASO health scheme dies and his widow/widower is over 55 years of age and is eligible for a pension, that widow/widower may enrol on an Individual plan, if he or she wishes to be covered under the health plan."

The Government is purporting to care about the health of its citizens by offering no user fees at public-health facilities, but have you ever seen the lines? People line up at the hospitals and health centres from as early as 4 a.m. to get a number to seek medical attention. Then these same people have to wait for hours to see the attending physicians.

From my observation, more health providers are needed at subsidised rates to deal with the number of persons in need of health care.

Why should widows and widowers of deceased government workers have to wait until they are over 55 years old to access health coverage, despite them being eligible government pensioners?

If the Government is offering a benefit, it must be given in its totality. Why does one have to wait until one is over 55 years to access a health benefit that one will be paying for anyway? Not all widows/widowers are going to be 55 years and older. What is being done for those who are under 55 years old?

Sagicor and Guardian Life are the two main providers of local health insurance in Jamaica. Are these two companies really doing all they can to improve access to health care for Jamaicans?

Where is the creativity to make health insurance more affordable? Or are they just in the business for profit?

Shakira martin

Greater Portmore, St Catherine