Free healthcare for kids under discussion

| 19/11/2018 | 43 Comments

Cayman Islands, Cayman News Service(CNS): Health Minister Dwayne Seymour is still trying to find a way for government to provide access to free healthcare for all children. Although he has given no details about how he plans to accomplish the goal, Seymour told the Legislative Assembly on Friday that he has begun discussions with the relevant authorities and stakeholders about this proposal, stating that the government “needed to find a way to make it happen” because he believed it would have a significant impact on families that are struggling to meet healthcare insurance costs. 

Answering a broad question from Kenneth Bryan, the independent member for George Town Central, about what his ministry has done to cut healthcare costs, Seymour spoke about the promotion of health education to cut non-communicable diseases, actions taken to cut the cost of medicines and the plan for a Standard Health Insurance Contract (SHIC) plan for people over 65.

But he said that providing free healthcare for children remained a priority. He said that the Health Insurance Commission was “coming up with some answers” to try to provide this help, which would cut a “magnificent amount” from family budgets.

He described the idea of free kids healthcare as a “vision” of the Unity government, along with the steps underway to create a specialist plan for people over 65 that was affordable and gave them the kind of benefits they need.

He blamed insurance companies for “dumping” people who have worked all their lives and paid into health insurance only to find on retirement that the only place they can get cover is through CINICO. They then face heavy premiums for a SHIC plan that has few of the benefits they need.

However, the project to create a SHIC65 has been criticised because it would be created for a small pool of people who are very likely to need access to medical care with no healthy group to offset costs, which may result in even higher premiums for seniors.

Despite the significant profits made by the private health insurance sector from the mandatory requirement that all employers provide health insurance for workers, with the cost split between employer and employee, the government subsidises much of that profit by covering the elderly, those who are high risk, the poor and the indigent. But government continues to be criticised for allowing the private insurance providers to cherry pick the healthiest people.

Government has hinted at the idea of some form of national insurance system, but so far there is no sign that it is moving forward with any suggested possibilities, such as expanding CINICO. In the absence of any such programme, government continues to cover those who cannot get health insurance on the private market. The public purse also picks up the tab for the medical expenses of people who are under-insured or not insured at all.

Seymour said that since he took office he has been focused on how to reduce healthcare costs for the public and to cut the cost to government. He pointed to the high costs people and government are paying for medicines and catastrophic illness. He said health education campaigns aimed at lifestyle or non-communicable diseases, such as helping people to stop smoking, were an important part of cutting costs, and that the current SHIC plans now all offer insurance cover for preventative wellness care.

He said that overseas medical costs remained high and that his ministry was seeking more sustainable solutions. Currently there is a ‘Jamaica first’ policy, meaning that patients who cannot be treated locally go to the less expensive hospitals in Jamaica before being sent to costly facilities in the United States.

But Seymour said he wanted to see a ‘Cayman first’ policy and that Health City Cayman Islands was under review to see how the facility compares with overseas healthcare. It appears that HCCI is not necessarily the government’s go-to facility, despite claims when the project was approved that it was expected to help reduce overseas medical spending significantly.  

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Category: Government Finance, Health, Health Insurance, Politics

Comments (43)

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  1. west bay king says:

    I guess this leaves out expat kids

  2. Anonymous says:

    Cite me an example of someone having been refused medical care at the George Town hospital as a result of an inability to pay.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Cayman government WUTLESS let’s spend money on iguanas and let our children suffer

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Money for iguana and lionfish a south Sound board walk what about the future our children then you want to know why we are angry when the rain fall it don’t fall on one man house top remember that

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  5. Anonymous says:

    6 Million dollars for killing iguanas and not even one million set aside for sick children wtf where are your priorities????

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Government got money to build those rich people in south Sound a Board walk with millions and can’t even put aside any for the children

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Children should be covered under their parent’s health care plan. Hospitals in many places are closing because they cannot continue to operate at a loss.
    Health care is not a right.
    We in Cayman do not live in socialist Cuba. We have to pay for cars, food, housing, etc. We should expect to pay for health care through a health insurance policy.
    What does Jamaicans have to do with this. Wherever they work they probably expect to pay for a family health insurance policy.

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    • Anonymous says:

      There are many single parents, divorced or widowed for example, making $30-50k who cannot afford the $300 – $500 deduction from their salary for a family health care plan. They need that money to buy food or keep the lights on or pay for the car insurance to get themselves to work. We need a better picture of what is really going on in a society and slow down on the rush to judgements by those better off in society.

      Children who need eye care, dental work and tests go years without them.

      Minister Seymour is right to raise the topic.

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    • Anonymous says:

      What about those who have no jobs

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  8. m says:

    You have to insist on lowering the cost of private health insurance. It’s not rocket science, they are making money off over priced health insurance premiums that do not cover what they should. People can’t afford these premiums so they go to Cinico.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Yep You bet
    “Jamaica first” is the rule of this land.
    From Social Services, to Hospital Jobs and all around.

    Even the Jamaicans are trying to get out of here.
    They have indicated that they have worked hard and sacrifice to leave that lifestyle in Jamaica, only to be in Cayman to see it turn into a little Jamaica.

    Free healthcare for children is good. Peg a note to see how it was stated.
    Not for Caymanians children. but for “all Children”.

    For every new wife of a Caymanian, there will be at least 2 new imported children to burden the Government. Now that law about giving so much rights so fast to these married to Caymanian people. How easy is it to make a marriage deal for 2 years? very easy.
    Now the law accommodate and promote this same convenience marriage.

    From Pizza to Plywood. From Bar to banker. You just can’t make this stuff up.

    It’s a good intention, But alas money doesn’t grow on trees and its only so much that can be sucked out of the few legal business that suffer all the fees necessary to make this little paradise work.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I agree it is time the government pass or amend the insurance laws to consider persons retirement age 65. How can the private insurance get away of collecting premiums for say 30 years and when you retire they dump you on CINICO that only cares about rejuvenation’s of ones body parts? This is rather considered as robbery if one has lead a healthy life up until retirement. Failing this, it is time the big firms that makes their millions off on Cayman to be taxed. Actually tax everyone and done away with these crazy import duties. Tax accordingly to salary scales and implement a system that collects correctly and fairly. Under the old rules, the poor will continue to suffer and the rich, let us say will continue to benefit off the poor.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Nice fantasy by a legacy-planning Cabinet on their last tour, but we already have estimates of close to a billion in unaccounted and unbudgeted pension and healthcare liabilities. Here’s a novel idea for the Unity Cabinet and their future replacement: maybe if we kept track of money and paid off actual payables there would be non-imaginary reserves from which to provide responsible community assistance benefit?

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  12. Anonymous says:

    “Jamaica first”. Yes, I would say that sums up the government’s policy most succinctly.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    So you want me to pay for first class health insurance for my kids, then tax me to pay for free health-care for a bunch of non Caymanian kids who are supposed to only even be here if their parents can pay their way?

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    • Anonymous says:

      and so the importation of unsustainable burdens on Cayman’s economic model continues. It is generational Caymanians that will pay the ultimate price. Unbelievable.

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  14. Say it like it is says:

    We have thousands of civil servants many of whom have kids so a large number receive free health care already.Also how many times are we going to her that Government picks up the tab for the poor and the indigent – this statement should not be made without reference to the $10 contribution that every private sector insured makes out of his own pocket towards health costs for these people.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Ooooh, $10. You’re sooo generous.

      • land crab says:

        5.26pm OOOOH so ignorant!.. A lot of these “donors” (they have no choice) with families can’t afford $800 a month or more plus the $10 donation when they still have to pay 20% of each claim and a $500 annual deductible. You must be a civil servant who knows nothing about paying out thousands of dollars a year in medical expenses,as you get platinum plated medical coverage and don’t pay a cent for it,and are even exempted from the $10 donation for chrissake!.Live in the real world!!.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Maybe people should stop having kids which they can’t afford. I don’t have any for that exact reason!

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    • Al Catraz says:

      …and thank goodness for that.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wow…what a way to turn such a humbling topic negative. Regardless of personal wealth, children should be given adequate healthcare free of cost. You’re insinuating all pregnancies are planned, or that adequate protection isn’t used by those who may have accidentally had kids. I can name numerous persons who’ve had children whilst on birth control and those who’s partners use latex protection. Neither are solutions in preventing pregnancy 100%.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Let’s say that accounts for 5%

        • Al Catraz says:

          And the other 95% of children are not to blame for the circumstances of their birth, nationality or residence.

          This society seems only to be “Christian” when it comes to pontificating on the value of child-bearing unions.

          The next thing you know, visitors from afar will show up without reservations and want mangers to use as cribs for their offspring!

          • Anonymous says:

            Al. If someone cannot or will not pay their own way, they can stay in their country. That is our rule. If persons do not like that they can stay where they are. There is no reason ( if we exclude corruption and incompetence) why Caymanians should have to provide increasingly limited resources to support large numbers of foreign nationals.

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            • Al Catraz says:

              How many children decided to come to Cayman?

              What should be done with sick children whose parents made decisions with which we do not agree? Set them adrift on the seas in baskets?

              • Anonymous says:

                Wish we could set you adrift in a basket.

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              • Anonymous says:

                Govt has a policy that if expats make under a certain amount, they are not allowed to bring their children because they will not be able to afford them due to Cayman’s high cost of living.

                If this is implemented, the hospital will be full of children during summer when the lower income expats have their children visit. That is a strain on Cayman’s already strained resources.

                Re- the unplanned pregnancy comment, everyone can make a choice. If the choice is to keep the child, then buckle down and work on getting a better paying job where you can afford the child and cut expenses as much as possible. It is not impossible, just a lot of people are too lazy or unwilling to do what it takes because it’s inconvenient or hard.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your life is your right
      Having children is your right
      Government overcharging us is causing poverty so you know what’s next a REVOLUTION

  16. Anonymous says:

    Who will pay for the “Free” healthcare do kids? Or do the doctors, nurses and hospital intend to services for free as well? What about food? Should that be free for kids as well? Even better, why doesn’t the government assume parenthood as well?

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  17. Anonymous says:

    There shouldn’t be a discussion, as well as our elderly.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Why not look to Cuba also ?

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Sorry but the blame lies with CIG (past and present governments) as the Insurance Companies are simply doing what CIG allows them to.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    It is free and it’s called CINICO, nobody pays for it D-wayne!

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    • Anonymous says:

      That’s not true. CINICO is free to government workers, and the indigent. Others over 60 have to PAY for the Silver Plan, which is dandy for catastrophic injury/illness, but terrible for outpatient. Imagine paying $3600 per year and having to pay for all your doctor visits, tests and meds after $400.

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      • land crab says:

        1202pm Civil servants would not dare to imagine this, it would give them all heart attacks, but in this case they would be covered!.

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