Sarah Calls on Ottley to amend the current Sickness Insurance law of the SZV to include vendors, taxi and bus drivers and sole proprietors.

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PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The call was made during a recent public meeting of parliament requested by members of parliament Wescot-Williams, Heyliger-Marten and Emmanuel in the presence of Minister of Ottley, who was asked about the national health insurance that was touted to be introduced on January 1, 2024.

“It is during that meeting we learned that the national health insurance will not go into effect per January 1, 2024, as previously announced by the minister,  but most  other questions regarding the implementation of the general health insurance were not answered. The  minister of health requested time to provide answers to all questions posed by members of parliament.”

The reason I was so adamant about the entering into force  date of the national health insurance has to do with  coverage of several categories of persons, who presently do not enjoy medical coverage, MP Wescot explained.

“As per the current sickness insurance law, managed by the SZV,  vendors, taxi and bus drivers, and sole proprietors, amongst others  are excluded, because they do not fall under the category “Employee”.  In my view, with the current uncertainty about the effective date of  the national health insurance, the council of ministers should via a general national decree amend article 1 of the Sickness Insurance law to include categories that are now excluded, such as vendors, taxi and bus drivers and sole proprietors”.

It can be recalled that in 2016, Minister of Health, Emil Lee had negotiated with Nagico a medical insurance for exactly the categories mentioned and others who were excluded from medical coverage, MP Wescot noted.

Minister Ottley is supposed to be back in Parliament with his answers next week and  MP Wescot hopes  that by that time, the Minister will present  changes to the present law that will cover a considerable part of the currently uninsured persons. 

“I also asked if there will be a phased implementation of the national health insurance as envisioned. If this is the case, it only strengthens my conviction that amending the current Sickness Insurance law to include the aforementioned persons is an important step in implementing a national health insurance by whichever name.

The MP during the parliament meeting also addressed the current policy that regulates the requirement of (private) medical insurance for foreign work permit holders, who often do not earn more than minimum wage.