Dr Martin Speaks on National Health Insurance

United Nations Sustainable Development Goal - Health

by Donella Hosten

As Grenadians prepare to have the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) rolled out, some persons are still unsure as to what is taking place. During a brief interview with Dr Francis Martin, Senior Medical Officer (SMO) at the Ministry of Health, he stated, “we are all learning about NHI together.”

According to Dr Martin, the NHI is the mechanism put in place by the necessary authorities to deal with the overall issue of universal coverage, which is in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals. These goal address the issue of financial barriers to medical care. “You don’t want financial barriers to be the reason why persons don’t access care.” Hence the setup of the NHI.

As it stands, the decision to use the NHI has been made, and the government has the assistance of the technical experts and consultants needed to put the scheme together.

The next step is to identify the cost of the NHI, which includes the Basket of Services that they hope to offer. The Basket of Services is still being researched and studied to have it reasonably priced.

Although people are not being registered for the NHI process, Dr Martin stated that there are some administrative things that can be done in the meantime.

Speaking about private insurance, Dr Martin noted that some insurance agencies are yet to come on board. However, having private insurance would not be a problem, as ‘it can be a hand in hand situation where persons are allowed to have their own private insurance.’ The NHI will not be able to cover every medical request, so if a person’s requirements go above and beyond what is being offered by the Basket of Services, their private insurance can come in ‘to buffer that difference.’

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