THE FIRST PHASE OF THE NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAMMME IS UNDER DEVELOPMENT.
The implementation of National Health (NHI) Insurance will mark a major milestone in the island’s healthcare system. Through the NHI, the Government of Saint Lucia aims to make healthcare more accessible to all segments of the population, facilitating more inclusive health coverage.
Health Planner in the Department of Health and Wellness, Lauren James, explained that the first phase of the NHI system will include an essential package of health services at the primary care level geared at non-communicable diseases.
“This will enable persons be able to access healthcare when they need it without having to think about whether they have enough money. So, in that way persons can be more pro-active about their health by seeking care when they need it,” she said.
“In the first phase we are looking at a package of services that targets the more popular chronic diseases, for example diabetes, hypertension, screening for cancers and other care areas.”
National Health Insurance is a means to achieve Universal Health Coverage in Saint Lucia. Universal Health Coverage means that all people have access to health services they need, when they need them, without enduring any financial hardship or paying for healthcare out of pocket.
“What we envision is where persons would pay a premium every month or annually, and not have to pay out of pocket when accessing healthcare. Normally as it stands right now, I have an insurance package and I would have to pay for the service out of pocket and then claim from my insurance company. What we are looking for is to move away from that to have the insurance companies reimburse the providers, so that is the method where you pay your premium and then whenever you need the care, you access and don’t pay.”
The development of National Health Insurance is a component of the Health System Strengthening Project funded by the World Bank. $5.5 million US dollars secured from the World Bank funded project is dedicated to the development of an NHI system in Saint Lucia.
To view the full interview with Health Planner in the Department of Health and Wellness, Lauren James, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NWY0H3X5hQ&list=PL19USom5vfS0hUsMBC5-_gAnWlGasK-H_&index=18