NIS Pensioners NI Gold Cards Available at Electoral Offices March 17


As of Thursday, March 17, beneficiaries under the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), who have already registered for their NI Gold electronic swipe cards, may collect them at the electoral offices islandwide.
Speaking at a recent JIS ‘Think Tank’, Director of National Insurance at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Denzil Thorpe emphasized that it was important for pensioners to collect their new cards, as only those pensioners who have their electronic cards would be able to access NI Gold benefits come April 1 this year.
According to Mr. Thorpe, pensioners should collect their cards from the same electoral office where they registered for the NI Gold cards. He pointed out however, that those pensioners who were afforded home visits by Electoral Officers would have their cards delivered to them.
The Director also stressed that there would be no further extensions after the March 31 deadline, and appealed to the remaining pensioners to register for their cards. “NI Gold is open to all National Insurance pensioners, which is currently over 70,000, but to date, only approximately 45,000 have registered, so we are encouraging persons who have not yet registered to actively go out and do so,” he said.
Apart from the fact that there would be no further extensions, the Director also stressed that only the electronic swipe cards would be accepted as of April. “Come April 1, those persons who have not registered, and have not received their swipe cards will not be able to access the [NI Gold] benefits .the system will be such that only persons who have the swipe cards will be able to access the benefits,” the Director said.
With regard to the benefits of the health plan, Mr. Thorpe pointed out that upon registration, pensioners would be able to use the plan for medical and dental visits, optical and diagnostic services as well as surgical procedures.
NI Gold, a health plan administered by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, in collaboration with Blue Cross of Jamaica, came into effect in December 2003, and is funded by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security at a cost of $11 million.
Upon implementation of the plan in 2003, paper-based health cards were distributed to all pensioners to access benefits. They were however, given up to June 30, 2004 to apply for the electronic swipe card, which would replace the paper-based card.
Mr. Thorpe explained that as a result of low registration, the Ministry extended the deadline to November 30. He said it was again further extended to March 31, 2005, as a result of the passage of Hurricane Ivan.

JIS Social