JIS News

A proposal is to be submitted to Cabinet for the review and approval of a National Athlete Insurance and Retirement Benefits Plan.

Minister with responsibility for Sport, Hon. Natalie Neita Headley, made the announcement on Wednesday, June 5, during her contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.

She said that once approval is granted, “we will be going to tender to identify the insurance company that will provide this long overdue protection to our national and professional athletes.”

“Each sport association or federation would be called upon to identify the athletes, who would meet the defined criteria for coverage under…the plan,” she said.

The insurance scheme will protect athletes against medical costs associated with sports injuries, as well as offer retirement benefits, life insurance coverage, and defray funeral costs in the event of death.

Mrs. Neita Headley said it is not intended that this proposed insurance plan would become an additional expense for the Government or taxpayers.

“We intend to help defray the costs of the premiums by reprogramming funds that are currently available on a discretionary basis, to assist in offsetting medical expenses for our elite athletes, and from all areas that benefit from the inputs of sport, such as the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), the National Health Fund and the Sport Development Foundation,” she explained.

The plan is expected to provide basic health coverage for all qualified national athletes, who represent Jamaica or have attained the specified professional level in their various sporting disciplines.

Contact: Chris Patterson