Health Minister Dwayne Seymour and the Cayman Islands Health Insurance Association have sought to allay concerns that people who have applied for government assistance in paying health insurance premiums are adequately covered.
Both the minister and the association’s Health Insurance Standing Committee said they were working on the issue, following media reports that government had failed to pay the premiums for some who had signed up for the insurance premium payment assistance programme, leaving them without health insurance.
Seymour dismissed those claims in an audio statement issued Tuesday and contended that applicants were covered.
“I would like to assure the public that the HIC (Health Insurance Commission) has been liaising with the approved insurers and have been assured that all persons approved under the HIC programme are covered,” he said.
According to a press release, the Health Insurance Commission approved 235 applications under the programme.
In April, 100 applications were received and 77 were approved, amounting to a total payment of $84,492. This covered 559 employees and dependents. In May, 186 applications were received, of which 148 were approved for payment of $128,212 – covering 809 employees and dependents.
Under the programme, government had committed to pay health insurance premiums for workers who had lost their jobs or had been furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure they remain covered in the wake of the collapse of the hospitality and tourism industries.
In a statement Wednesday, the Health Insurance Standing Committee said invoices were issued for individuals approved under government’s Premium Payment Assistance Programme to the Ministry of Health and it remained committed to working with to support clients through “this difficult time”.
“Upon receiving notice of the approved candidates for participation in Premium Payment Assistance Programme for the month of June 2020, the approved health insurers will issue the invoices,” the statement said.
It said that, as of Thursday, 9 July, health insurance companies received a list of candidates approved by the Ministry of Health for participation in the programme for the months of April and May 2020.
“On the same day, all approved health insurers were given instructions on where to submit our invoices. As of Tuesday, 14 July 2020, all approved health insurers have submitted our invoices to the Ministry of Health,” the statement said.
Seymour, in his statement, said the commission had processed 77 applications that were approved for payment of April premiums, with a total cost of $83,872; and 140 applications were approved for payment of May premiums, totaling $123,777.
He said he understood that there have been concerns that people who had applied to the Health Insurance Commission for assistance had lost coverage, but he insisted this was not the case.
“The HIC continues to work with the approved insurers to submit their invoices for settlement of the April and May premiums in order to get this resolved quickly. As of Friday, July 10th, the ministry had received invoices from two approved insurers, with the remaining approved insurers pending submission. Today (Tuesday) invoices were received from a further three approved insurers,” he said.
Seymour said there will not be a delay in regularising the payments.
“I would like to comfort those members of the community who have had any difficulty with this process that, once invoices are received, the ministry will provide a quick turnaround for settlement,” he said in his audio statement.
The minister said work continues behind the scenes “to put your health and wellbeing as a first priority. It is indeed that very essence of why the ministry and government by extension undertook to provide this benefit to those in need.”
The health minister’s statement can be heard here: