Cayman: Health insurance firm U-turns on Shetty hospital

(CNS Business): Following a memo sent to British Caymanian Insurance customers last month by management blocking cover for treatment at Health City Cayman Islands in East End, the firm has made an about turn, and in a joint statement with HCCI has announced it will now extend cover to all services at the facility. BritCay and HCCI said that after “productive talks”, from next Monday, 17 April, the insurance company will be allowing policyholders to access all health care services covered under their plan with the hospital.

“The two parties met, along with the Health Insurance Commissioner, to work together to ensure that people continue to receive the best quality health care available. It is anticipated that more discussions will be held between BritCay and Health City to ensure there is a continuing collaborative relationship in the future,” the statement read.

Last month the insurance firm sent a memo saying it wanted to review standards and check prices before it would clear its customers to receive treatment at Health City with BritCay cover. But the HCCI said it felt the insurance firm was putting other considerations over people’s healthcare needs and that the decision would have a negative impact on patients and send the wrong message about the hospital.

The issue of health insurance and the power of the private sector companies to limit cover, cherry-pick patients and undermine the system as they seek profits above healthcare needs is becoming increasingly apparent.

Speaking at the Progressives’ national conference on Saturday, the premier implied that if a PPM government was returned to power after the general election, they are planning a complete overhaul of the entire system.

Ed Chisholm, who was the first PPM representative to attend a Chamber of Commerce Forum on Tuesday night, said he believed Cayman needed a national health insurance system of some kind when asked about the issue of health insurance, which is becoming increasingly unaffordable for ordinary people.

At present, the government is trapped in the worst of all worlds regarding health insurance costs. People in work are still not receiving sufficient cover even with increasingly expensive plans that are part paid by employers. Despite changes in the law, insurance firms are still cherry-picking customers and either refusing cover to some or pushing premiums to impossibly high levels.

This means the government’s insurance company, CINICO, is picking up those patients, adding to their pool of high-risk clients. The public purse is therefore picking up the tab for those who cannot access cover or who have no insurance because they are out of work and unable to afford it, and is also spending millions of taxpayers dollars every year covering the shortfall where cover is inadequate.

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