CINICO reform to open up access

| 01/11/2017 | 13 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands National Insurance Company, the government’s health insurance provider, is to undergo a reform that will allow the public-owned authority to offer cover to a broader cross-section of the population, the premier has said, During the election campaign earlier this year, Premier Alden McLaughlin promised that a Progressive government would be focusing on healthcare and insurance reform. Now part of a broader coalition, McLaughlin, addressing the Legislative Assembly last week, indicated some of the plans for the health sector overhaul.

In the 2018/19 budget increased funding  has been provided to CINICO to cover more clients. Over the next two years government will spend almost $66 million on health insurance premiums for civil servants, civil service pensioners, seafarers and veterans, alongside the near $60 million government will inject into the Health Services Authority for the provision of community health services.

Pumping cash into the government company is not the solution to the challenges that the current health insurance and health care system presents, the premier implied, and told legislators that the answer lies in recognising the need for reform.

“Part of the solution to making CINICO more financially viable is to broaden its role as part of an overall reform of the insurance market. At the moment it falls to CINICO to cover those people unable to afford private insurance cover – essentially with government picking up the full cost. Frankly, this is unsustainable. CINICO must be able to provide insurance cover to a broader demographic to lower the overall costs to the public purse,” he said.

“Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system will require a long term, strategic change, including devising new working arrangements that will create the changes needed and identify what services should be focused on in future years,” the premier said. “A first step is to talk with the industry players, including those at the HSA, to determine what reforms are needed, and to devise new working arrangements that will serve as the impetus for the changes we need to see and identify what services should be focused on in future years.”

McLaughlin pointed to the concerns his party and other representatives have regarding the HSA and the management of its finances and said that authority would also face reform.

“As a government, we have yet to sit down to fully consider, with the help of the Board, what reviews of the HSA may be useful or necessary,” he said, adding that as government progresses past the budget, decisions will be taken over the HSA’s future.

Although the premier spoke at length about some of the issues facing healthcare, including access and quality, as well as insurance and costs, he fell well short of any indication that government was looking at some for of single-pay or national insurance cover. On the campaign trail McLaughlin had made significant hints that the PPM was moving toward that idea as a potential solution, but now part of a coalition it appears that solution may no longer be on the table.

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Category: Government Finance, Health, Health Insurance, Politics

Comments (13)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Where, in a low tax colony, does one expect the money to come from for medical care? We live in the USA. After paying into medicare for 48 years, (yes, I started paying into medicare tax at 14) I finally turned 65 and was enrolled. The government still bills me $113 a month for the coverage! What a scam! If you think that some government scheme is going to solve your health care problems then you need pyschiatric coverage as well as general healthcare coverage,because you are crazy.
    I personally plan to switch to a concierge medical doctor just as soon as my wife turns 65, and then look for a catastrophic coverage policy for the 20%.

    By the way, the unpaid bills at Cayman’s government run hospital IS the program for people who can’t pay. As in the USA, the. Cayman government hospital apparently does not turn anyone away. They treat everyone and pass the expense for the no-pays on to the rest of you. That is why every procedure, asprin and etc. is billed at multiples of what one could get on the open market.

    By the way also, a relative who lived with us as a teen recently came back for a visit to have dental work done at our (and the relative’s former) dentist. The relative is covered by CINICO. The fact that the relative flew up, took the time off, and bore the whole expense for the work suggests to me that either the wait down there was too long, or that the quality of dental care down there is questionable.

    Bottom lines:

    Firstly, there is no free lunch.

    Secondly, as my Caymanian mother in law used to say, “money don’t grow on trees, Grand Cayman, USA, nor no place else.”

    • Anonymous says:

      That is the US. The only large country in the world not to have a free medical system. It has been shown time and time again, you can do it. The only things stopping the US doing it are lawyers, doctors, drug companies and T.Rump all of whom are heavily invested in ensuring their profits roll in and to hell with those that cannot afford it. Nowhere else in the civilized world do the poor pay most taxes and get nothing for it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Where do you come up with this stuff? The poor in the US pay no income tax, in fact the bottom 40% of earners pay no tax. Those without insurance are treated for free. Health care is rationed wherever the government is in charge.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hope CINICO opens up to the general public at an affordable cost soon.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great news indeed.

    But for it to be successful both in implementation and operation a drastic change in CINICO’s management is required. In fact it is much better to make that change from now so that those stumbling blocks are removed from being a part of any reform.

    It has to be surgical and immediate. Nike!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Prisoners are not currently covered by CINICO. Let us start there.

  5. Anonymous says:

    A single pay, or national insurance would be the best route to go, because honestly, you pay $350 per month for insurance and when you use it, you still have to pay 20% of the cost, unless you are hospitalized. Then Government is demanding that the hospital reduce its bad debt, but the poorer Caymanians cannot afford $350 per month for medical insurance, much less between $1,000 and $1,200 per month for a family of 4. It is just ludicrous. On this path the hospital will always have bad debt, or people will not have health care. And you know that is when politicians are gonna be demanding their constituents be given the care they need, whether or not they can pay for it. So my two cents is that a national insurance would be the better option. It will cut out the

    • Anonymous says:

      If your plan was extended to all residents, and the price gouging was stopped, everything at cost plus 10% for overheads, then there would possibly be enough to make this work. Those that wish could still pay extra for private treatment, but at least then competition would keep those costs down too.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Another cash blackhole in the making………………………..

  7. Anonymous says:

    Stop the doctors price gouging and prescribing unnecessary drugs, and put in a strictly enforced price control element. Do the same for dentists, when the first question they ask is “how much insurance coverage do you have left” you just know it is going to get used, and for little value. As some of you will know, if you go to a doctor as a non-insurance patient, the price is a lot lower than an insurance one. Go figure. I personally believe that is a criminal offense, defrauding insurers, which drives the price of insurance cover up for us all.

    • Anonymous says:

      I complained that XXXXX charged insurance company more for physio than if I paid the bill. Guess who was on the complaints board? Owner of XXXXX.

      It’s like having ALT on planning board.

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