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JIS News

The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) will be re-introducing the specially branded NI Gold cards during the coming year.
These cards will be printed by the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EoJ), and will include the pensioners’ photographs so that they can also be used for identification purposes.
“We will be going back to partnering with the EoJ in doing these cards that will come early in the New Year,” Director of the NIS, Denzil Thorpe, tells JIS News.
“So, what we will be asking pensioners to do in the very near future is to register again at the Electoral Office of Jamaica where the photographs will be taken and new cards will be produced that are branded with the NI Gold logo, which gives it a different appearance from the normal Sagicor cards,” he informs.
Pensioners will be advised in the print and electronic media when registration at EoJ offices for this exercise will commence. Persons requiring more information may contact the NIS Office at 922-1294.
The NI Gold Health Plan, which came into effect in December 2003, is an innovative health care programme for pensioners under the NIS. Its benefits include coverage for doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, dental and optical diagnostic tests, hospitalisation and surgery, among others.
All NIS pensioners are automatically covered under the programme. “Currently, all that the person needs to do is just basically wait at home for the card because as soon as a person becomes registered as a National Insurance Scheme pensioner, their pertinent information is sent on to Sagicor, which administers the programme on our behalf, and Sagicor prepares a new NI Gold card for them after enrolling them in the programme,” Mr. Thorpe explained.
NI Gold is also open to invalidity and widow pensioners and special child and orphan pensioners, meaning children under the age of 18 years, who benefit under the NIS pension scheme, also qualify under NI Gold. “Once that pension is in payment for a period of at least one year then that pensioner automatically qualifies to receive the NI Gold health plan,” he adds.
The health plan provides basic benefits that are complementary to the other government administered health programmes, including the National Health Fund (NHF), the Jamaica Drugs for the Elderly Programme (JADEP), and the free health care policy in public facilities.
Pensioners are therefore encouraged to access all the other public health benefits for which they may qualify, to ensure that they maximise the health care benefits provided by the state.
Mr. Thorpe notes that the premium for the health plan is paid by the NIS in full. However, a co-payment is made to the provider when accessing the service.
“For example, as it regards prescription drugs, the person would be required to pay 10 per cent of the cost of the drugs and the plan covers the other 90 per cent. Similarly, for surgery and anesthetic fee or assistant surgeon fee, the person would be required to pay a minimum of $1,000 in order to access the NI Gold benefit of $30,000,” he explained.
Some of the other benefits include: $5,000 per annum towards prescription drugs, $4,000 per year for diagnostic services and $3,000 per annum for dental and optical services.
“There is also doctors visits, which is $500 per visit, and consultant fee which is $1,000 per visit. We also have hospitalisation benefits, so, for room and board, we will pay up to $800 per night; inpatient hospital miscellaneous expenses we pay up to $6,000 per disability; and for outpatient hospital fees we pay up to $2,000 per disability,” Mr. Thorpe informs.
The NIS is a compulsory, contributory-funded social security scheme covering all employed persons in Jamaica