PM Heyliger-Marten determined to make vitamin supplements free for all seniors



PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Legislators will soon debate a proposal by Faction Leader for the United People’s Party in Parliament, MP Grisha Heyliger-Marten, to add vitamin supplements to the SZV package for Senior Citizens, fulfilling a campaign promise and pledge to do more for the elderly.

Her goal is for the legislation to contribute to the health of senior citizens in particular, while bringing them much needed financial relief as well.

MP Heyliger-Marten said Wednesday the timing of her proposal coincides with the still ongoing fight against the Corona Virus COVID-19. “We continue to hear from medical experts that because the immune system weakens over time, our bodies ability to fight infection lessens. This fight against the Corona Virus has been especially difficult for senior citizens around the globe and here at home during the pandemic,” said Heyliger-Marten.

In a letter sent to the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor the Honorable Richard Panneflek earlier this week Heyliger-Marten requested a meeting with the Policymakers within the Ministry, and SZV Social & Health Insurance (SZV Sociale Ziektekosten Verzekering) Management team to discuss implementing legislation on the proposed addition of the vitamin supplements to the senior citizens’ health coverage.

Once the legislation is passed in Parliament, residents on the island who have reached retirement age and require different vitamins to boost their immune system, would now be able to have these supplements covered under their SZV insurance policy.

In her letter to the Minister MP Heyliger-Marten wrote, “To protect the health of our senior citizens while taking their financial situations into account, I suggest to add vitamin supplements to the SZV package for all senior citizens of Sint Maarten.”

According to MP Heyliger-Marten, our senior citizens must get the help they desperately need to strengthen their immune system. By adding vitamin supplements to their medical coverage, it eliminates their monthly financial burden of having to pay between USD. $50,00 to $80,00 USD for vitamins. “This is especially challenging for this particular group of citizens who are being double taxed on their already limited income,” said MP Heyliger-Marten.

The Ministry’s policy makers and SZV Management team will soon meet with members of the Public Health, Social Development and Labor committee in Parliament to discuss the way forward for what MP Heyliger-Marten hopes to be a swift process so that the legislation can reach fruition before 2021.

“I want to make it clear that I keep my promises,” said MP Heyliger-Marten. In January this year, she publicly stated her belief that “our Social and Health Insurance institution must adapt best practices to serve our older adults better and help them meet the challenges that come with ageing.”