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70 Per Cent Increase in Full House Benefits for Government Pensioners


Full house medical benefits provided under the Government Pensioners Administrative Services Only (GOPASO) health scheme will increase by 70 per cent, effective September 1, 2023.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, on Tuesday (July 4), announced that individual benefits to retirees will go up by 40 per cent, moving from $20,000 to $28,000 per annum.

The provision for family subscribers will move from $42,000 to $52,000 per annum, an increase of 30 per cent, he further informed.

“Importantly, members of the Government Pensioners Administrative Services Only health scheme will have access to these increases in benefits without any increase in their monthly subscriptions,” Dr. Clarke said, adding that the cost to the Government will be approximately $200 million.

He made the announcement in a statement to the House of Representatives on Tuesday (July 4).

Dr. Clarke indicated that the comprehensive health insurance scheme, which the Government operates through the Finance Ministry, is currently administered by Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited.

He said it provides a range of benefits for retired central and local government employees, teachers, members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), United District Constables, Nurses and retirees of some statutory bodies, their spouses and dependent children under 19, as well as those who are physically challenged.

These include hospital services such as room and board, hospital outpatient services and intensive care, surgical benefits, diagnostics, and overseas emergency services.

Additionally, Dr. Clarke said the scheme covers home and office doctors’ visits, specialists and consultations, along with the full house benefits that incorporate prescription drugs, optical and dental provisions.

As at June 30, 2023, the number of beneficiaries in the scheme totalled 29,268, of which 11,071 are individual subscribers, 9,088 are family subscribers, with 9,109 dependents.

The Minister advised that 80 per cent of the monthly subscriptions are paid by the Government and the remaining 20 per cent by pensioners.

Additionally, he said the scheme is financed via government equity contributions totalling approximately $1.4 billion, assuring that the facility “is sustainable”.

Dr. Clarke said the existing contract, which was renewed on December 1, 2021, expires on November 30, 2025.

“Over the years, and based on actuarial assessments, efforts have been made to maintain subscription costs at reasonable rates to ensure that in meeting their 20 per cent portion of the subscription, our retirees don’t exhaust their pension earnings to meet monthly subscription costs,” he told the House.

Dr. Clarke advised that a Monitoring Committee, comprising government pensioners, meets regularly to review the scheme’s performance and make recommendations for the Administration to consider.

He said Tuesday’s announcement “is one such example of the Government taking on recommendations of the Monitoring Committee”.

“We’re grateful to the service of our public-sector retirees… and the Monitoring Committee with whom we work, and we hope to continue to work with them to improve the benefits over time. [We are] just happy that we have been able to increase the benefits in this way, at this time,” Dr. Clarke added.