Companies accused of failing to provide health insurance to their employees can now elect to pay fines in lieu of facing court action, according to notice issued in the Government Gazette on Friday.
Employers accused of committing an offense under the Health Insurance Law (2013) will be liable to pay $1,000 to the government, and a subsequent $100 for each day the offense continues. The law now gives power to the Health Insurance Commission to impose these fines.
Some of these offenses include failure to provide a “standard health insurance contract” and to inform employees about their approved insurer. Employers accused of failing to provide certain documents to the Health Insurance Commission, wrongfully terminate health insurance contracts or reduce levels of benefits under contracts will also be notified.
An accused company will have 21 days to respond to the notice sent by the Health Insurance Inspector of the Commission, and if the employer fails to respond, the matter will proceed to court.
According to the notice issued in the Government Gazette, the fines can only be imposed in cases where the accused have admitted to the offense, according to the gazette. Not every company will be eligible for this option – “serial offenders” or cases “series crimes” will automatically be dealt with by the court.
The fines were put in place to reduce the length of time it takes to dispose of health insurance offenses in the court system, according to the Gazette.
Mervyn Conolly, superintendent of the Health Insurance Commission, said the commission would release more information relating to the amendment this week.