BARP ‘LIFELINE’: Health insurance amnesty, open enrollment to members - by Marlon Madden
August 9, 2020
August 9, 2020
August 9, 2020
A health insurance amnesty has been offered to some Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP) members who lack health insurance coverage and those whose policies have lapsed, BARP has announced.
BARP members in good financial standing between the ages of 50 and 59 years-old could sign up to its existing health insurance plan without the requirement of a medical or having to answer any questions about their medical condition, officials said.
Those BARP members whose policies lapsed due to non-payment of premiums, are being given an opportunity to reinstate those policies without a penalty, they said.
The period of open enrollment and amnesty, which is being done through insurance brokers Gallagher Insurance Brokers (Barbados) Ltd, ends on September 30.
It was in early 2018 that thousands of BARP members lost their health insurance coverage after the Insurance Corporation of Barbados Ltd (ICBL) cancelled its Golden Health Insurance Plan.
By May of that year, several insurance firms – Sagicor Life Inc., Brydens Insurance Inc., and Beacon Insurance Company Ltd – stepped in to provide coverage.
BARP President Marilyn Rice-Bowen said the organisation was constantly seeking out opportunities to benefit its members, and therefore the amnesty and open enrollment was decided on after BARP approached the insurance companies through its broker and received approval.
Rice-Bowen said: “We recognise that some of our members were made redundant and recently during COVID-19 quite a few of them loss their medical insurance. Medical insurance is important.
“We understand there is a need for such a coverage between the ages of 50 and 59 and we have gone out there and prepare a case for you, the rest is up to you.
“So persons between 50 and 59 who are financial members of BARP can access this coverage without any medical evidence. Open enrollment will run until September 30. They will not ask you if you are asthmatic, hypertensive or diabetic. Until September 30 they will not be asking you any of these questions. The only qualifying factor is that you are a financial member of BARP.”
Once members are enrolled, they will receive a health insurance card that will allow them to pay for a portion of the medical/ doctor visit costs through the insurance provider.
Officials did not disclose the monthly premium or what portion of costs is covered by the plan.
Rice-Bowen declared that “with that health insurance card it gives you that feeling of comfort that if something goes wrong and you take ill you don’t have to worry about the lack of funds. We all have to be comfortable, particularly when you are not well”.
Stating that she was expecting a good response to the open enrollment and policy reinstatement, Rice-Bowen said during recent interactions with members she was made aware that their policies had lapsed for a variety of reasons.
“We are providing you with the opportunity to reinstate that coverage,” she said. “So we are always on the lookout for opportunities and avenues to assist our members. During this period we recognized that some policies lapse and some persons didn’t get the opportunity to sign up for health plan.”
In relation to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Rice-Bowen said members have been coping very well, adding that BARP has been very proactive in providing members with relevant and updated information.
“We kept our members informed so that they didn’t feel as if they were abandoned,” she said.