Clarke announces increases in Gov’t health scheme for pensioners Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Finance and Public Service Minister, Dr Nigel Clarke has announced an increase of 40 per cent to $28,000 in the full house benefit for individual subscribers in the Government’s Pensioners Administrative Services Only (GPASO) Health Scheme with effect from September 1, 2023.

There will also be an increase of 30 per cent for family subscribers from $42,000 to $52,000.

Clarke made the announcement on Tuesday during a ministerial statement in the House of Representatives.

The comprehensive health insurance scheme is operated by the Government of Jamaica through the Ministry of Finance and Public Service, providing a range of health care benefits to former government employees (pensioners), their spouses and dependent children under 19 years as well as children who are physically challenged.

The scheme is managed by Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited under an administrative service only contract.

It is a contributory, self-insured scheme, funded jointly by the monthly contributions of the government which pays 80 per cent of the monthly subscriptions and pensioners who pay the remaining 20 per cent.

“The scheme provides coverage specifically for retired central and local government workers, teachers and members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, United District Constables, nurses and retirees of some statutory bodies,” Clarke shared.

He said that as of June 30, the number of beneficiaries under the health scheme stood at 29,268, with 11,071 individual subscribers, 9,088 family subscribers and 9,109 dependents.

The current contract with Sagicor was renewed on December 21, 2021 and expires on November 30, 2025.

Benefits under the health scheme include hospital service such as surgical, room and board, hospital outpatient services and intensive care, diagnostic and overseas emergency services which is applicable to pensioners only. It also covers doctors’ visits, prescription drugs, optical, and dental.

“Importantly, members of the …health scheme will have access to these increases in benefits without any increase in their monthly subscription,” Clarke stated.

He noted that the norm in schemes such as these is that every time there is an increase in benefits there is also a monthly increase in subscription rates.

The finance minister pointed out that based on actuarial assessments over the years, efforts have been made to maintain subscription costs at reasonable rates, to ensure that in meeting the 20 per cent portion of their subscription, retirees do not exhaust their pension costs.