Insurers had to trust gov’t over benefit scheme

| 15/07/2020 | 7 Comments

(CNS): Following the announcement that the health ministry was going to help hundreds of workers pay their health insurance premiums during the COVID-19 lockdown, insurers were forced to trust government because how it was going about this benefit scheme was not made clear, CNS has learned. The industry body issued a statement, Wednesday, saying insurers received invoicing instructions on 9 July two months after the scheme was revealed.

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour announced in May the creation of a benefit scheme that would cover the premiums of workers for three months, but the government was relying on the goodwill of the insurance companies to maintain the policies of furloughed and unpaid workers.

But CNS has learned that the health insurance sector was not given any details about how the scheme would work or when and how they would be paid and for which clients. As a result the companies had to trust that government would pay eventually or, as per the law, suspend the policies.

Although government had asked insurance agents to “hold coverage” for those who had applied to the Health Insurance Premium Payment Assistance Programme, the insurance companies had no way of knowing who those policy holders were. With a mounting number of policies with unpaid premiums, the companies did not know which ones would eventually be covered by government and which would not.

Larger suppliers who were in dialogue with government were in a position to cover the costs of any claims where premiums had not been paid, but that was not the case for some smaller players. Therefore, despite assurances from the government that no one lost cover, that was not the case for all employees as this was suspended for dozens of workers.

The Health Insurance Standing Committee of the Cayman Islands Insurance Association said Wednesday that the approved health insurers received the list of candidates approved by the health ministry to benefit from the Premium Payment Assistance Programme last Thursday, 9 July, along with instructions on how to submit invoices.

“As of Tuesday, 14 July 2020, all Approved Health Insurers have submitted our invoices to the Ministry of Health,” the committee stated. “We remain committed to working with the Ministry of Health to support our clients through this difficult time. Upon receiving notice of the approved candidates for participation in Premium Payment Assistance Program for the month of June 2020, the Approved Health Insurers will issue the invoices.”

Mervin Conolly, the Director of Department of Health Regulatory Services and Superintendent of Health Insurance, said the decision to extended the deadline for people to apply had delayed the approval process.

Over 800 workers and their dependents were approved in the end and Connolly said that now all the invoices had been received, the department “should be able to get caught up fairly quickly”.

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Category: Health, Health Insurance

Comments (7)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There its no institution of higher learning that would admit to an abject failure of education of Dwayne Seymour.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Simply put, all politicians are products of a popularity contest initially. Some justify that popularity by their intellect, skills, experience, ethics, morals, ideas, personal style, campaigning style, allegiances and sadly yes, money. Some may qualify by any single one, or a few of those attributes. Some prove their mettle over time and become true political leaders and statesmen. All over the world.

    Caymanian politicians are no different now. However, in many cases, especially since the 1970s when, in my opinion, changes to what some felt was an archaic British-style education system was switched to the path of whatever the present mess is; and ethics blew out the window, replaced by allegiances and money, we end up with the type of political (generally) and public administrative leadership that we have. All in an age of greater opportunities and “progress”!

    Our MLA’s, Vestrymen and senior administrative civil servants of the ’50s, 60s and early 70s were simple, often humble men of good character. A few were “well-off” by Cayman standards then, often merchants, but most were just hard-working, honest people that the populace trusted, and for good reasons. But hardly a single one had more than a Standard 6 high-school education, save a couple who were well off enough to have had some basic training in dentistry (the people called them “doctor”) or law (they were really law-agents and the people called them “lawyer”; later they were “grandfathered” into being designated as lawyers because of their long years of ethical practice and experience).

    But these were the political leaders and other leaders whose work laid foundations to transform our little islands from thatch rope and turtle trading into a world- class financial centre within two decades, with the vision of a particular Administrator in the second decade! These were the leaders who met and successfully negotiated with OxBridge-type British and Jamaican representatives during the era of the West Indies Federation, Jamaican independence and our own establish and a British Crown Colony! We know who they are, in our Heroes square; and they deserve to be there, all but the one standing tall who indeed tore their work down and gave us our present political models! Tear him down and replace it with one of Sir John Cumber!!

    So, in my opinion, we have regressed educationally, ethically, morally and in so many other ways even as we’ve developed, because our leadership has set that example.

    But look at that example in the White House! Is he any different than some of our “less-than-suitable” leaders we criticize? But that is no excuse and absolutely no example to justify.

    For us, I look to the up and coming foreign-educated (sorry, but true) Cayman-born youth (of any parentage, who qualifies legally) raised with good morals, respect for ethical standards and civic responsibility to get us out of this political mire. Yet a few election cycles away, I’m afraid. Of the repetitive past and current batch, there are less than a handful of our political leaders today who could really qualify to do the job well, all things considered. Otherwise as the old-folk used to say, with no insult to anyone intended, we’re just “switching out black dog for monkey”.

    Cuss me all you want.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The insurance companies got their instructions from government 9 July, about the time CNS took the lid off the can of worms – government announced the insurance scheme in May – what the Hell were Seymour and his staff doing for perhaps as long as 8 weeks.
    When will Seymour and government learn that trying to cover up a “cock-up” or a lie, invariably ends up with things getting much worse – President Nixon (USA) found out very much to his cost.

    • Anonymous says:

      Jon Jon is simply far too incompetent and ignorant to figure that out. I just have to shake my head at this point at the sheer size of his incompetence.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It’s what our redundant leaders are all about, winging it!

  5. Anonymous says:

    In the midst of this expose’ of Seymour’s farcical and inept management of the Health Ministry – could someone reliable confirm exactly what educational level/exams he achieved, including any university degree(s) he obtained, and/or professional qualifications.
    It will be interesting to see what, if any of these are relevant to his current position.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The age old lesson:
    Lapsed insurance = no insurance.

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