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JIS News

Blue Cross of Jamaica, the exclusive provider of insurance benefits for public sector workers, has launched a critical illness policy, which Vice President for Marketing and Customer Service, David Garel pointed out, would help to ease the burden on the state from having to absorb the financial cost of persons suffering from long term, chronic illnesses.
“The state in most countries is not able to deal with all the financial needs of persons, who have critical or prolonged illnesses, and therefore as a carrier of health insurance, we certainly regard this offer as one that will go a far way to alleviate the burden on the state,” Mr. Garel told JIS News in an interview.
The policy, called ‘Critical Blue’ provides $1.5 million to insured persons, who are diagnosed with four conditions: cancer, heart attack or heart disease, stroke and renal failure. This is the fourth policy of the kind that Blue Cross has launched in recent years and as Mr. Garel pointed out, “this type of policy is always a relevant product”.
He explained that, “on diagnosis of these conditions, an amount of money is made available to help you to offset the cost of treatment”. He noted that in many instances, these conditions could cause incapacitation, which could result in a loss or reduction in income, so “this kind of income paid in a lump sum upon diagnoses is always relevant especially in situations where you are a breadwinner”.
To be eligible for the benefit, persons must be between 18 and 65 years old, but there is no automatic qualification. “Although we don’t ask you to do a medical examination, we ask five simple questions and depending on how those questions are answered, you will be offered the contract on specified terms,” Mr. Garel stated.
He informed that all Blue Cross policyholders, persons insured with other companies, and those who already have this kind of policy, were free to apply for the additional coverage. “There is no limitation on the amount of coverage or the number of policies that you can have across the industry, so if you have a health insurance, a life insurance policy or a critical injury policy prior to this offer, we welcome you to apply for the Critical Blue as an addition to your coverage across the industry,” he said.
Meanwhile, Health Minister John Junor, has lauded the health insurer for its innovation, pointing out that the company and the government had the same objective of ensuring the complete health of the Jamaican people.
“In the final analysis, what is important is the creation of a citizenship that has the capacity to make the right decisions, which includes health, and others,” he said.
According to the Healthy Lifestyle Survey of 2001, only a quarter of Jamaicans diagnosed with a chronic illness actively treat their condition and the Health Minister informed that the government would be seeking to introduce a programme to significantly boost this number.