Grenada making progress with National Health Insurance Plan

The ending of the first quarter 2016 is the proposed date for the implementation of the National Health Insurance Plan currently being developed in Grenada.

Health Minister, Nikolas Steele made the disclosure last week Tuesday while providing an update on the progress report presented to Cabinet by the National Health Insurance Advisory Committee.

The newly appointed Health Minister said among recommendations listed in the document is the setting up of a ”multi-sectoral task force” to assist the Ministry of Health with the implementation and cost assessment” for the health insurance plan.

“We would have to set up a Secretariat and give the Secretariat the financial support” to allow for “operation as a focal point moving forward,” Minister Steele said, noting that this would be “dependent” on Grenada’s ability to “find the appropriate sources of finance “between now and the proposed date  “and the progress that is made” in this regard.

The Health Minister said that based on the suggestion from the Committee, it was decided that the Board of Directors of the state-controlled National Insurance Scheme (NIS) would be engaged “to explore the possibilities” of having the Scheme as the “manager” of the National Health Insurance.

“It is felt that they are the best suited and that they already have the mechanisms and skills set in place to manage a National Health Insurance,” said Minister Steele who added that it is in keeping with government’s plans to “improve the health care system” in the country.

“…Once you have a national insurance the level of access increases and the expectation of what one gets from the system increases also,” he told reporters.

According to Minister Steele, ”between now and March, apart from the implementation of health insurance we also need to address the quality and quantity of health services offered to the Grenadian public…”.

He said discussions would be held as to whether the plan would “be across the board for all services or whether it is a phased introduction of services as the health system and the funding can deal with it.”

“There will be variations,” he said, noting that once the National Health Insurance Plan is initiated “all Grenadians, regardless of (their) level in society will be able to access Universal health care, with the cost, if not completely, significantly covered by health insurance.”

He explained that some adjustments would have to be made to the legislation governing the NIS to give the health Insurance plan “flexibility to operate.”

“The fact that there isn’t any legislation to speak specifically to a national health insurance so that would have to be done,” he said, pointing to an upcoming meeting with the NIS Board “in the next couple of weeks” to draw up a road map as to how we would proceed.”

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