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Government of Jamaica

NHF Expands coverage of its Card Programme

The National Health Fund (NHF) in a press conference on Tuesday, October 24 announced the expansion of its NHFCard Programme to include five additional illnesses.

The five conditions – Lung Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Multiple Myeloma, Parkinson’s Disease and Thyroid Disease – bring the number of conditions covered by the NHF to twenty-two, and will come with ten new Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) frequently prescribed by physicians, to be used for treatment. 

The projected cost to support this move is estimated at JMD $450 million dollars.

The NHF was established in 2003 by the NHF Act with a vision of “no financial barriers to healthcare”.

Speaking at the press conference Chief Executive Officer, Everton Anderson shared that the 20th anniversary of the Fund prompted some reflection on the Agency’s purpose.

“We looked back at the journey and realized that if we’re to continue being true to our mandate as an organisation, in our 20th year there needs to be some improvements to our offerings. As such, the team did significant work to come up with a new package of benefits. I think this is very important in the context of a world where the cost of healthcare will continue to rise, driven by an aging population, higher costs for surgeries, and diagnostics, as well as rising drug prices. That is why we’re here to say we’re carrying out our mandate and offering more to the people of Jamaica.”

President of the Jamaica Multiple Myeloma Support Group, Dr Monica Taylor, expressed thanks to the NHF describing the group as “one of the happy troops”.

“Even the cheapest medication is pretty expensive in Jamaica, especially if you’re not a patient in the public hospital. Many of our members are private patients and face costs such as JMD $100,000 monthly depending on how strong the dose is. One of our members wanted to come back home to Jamaica but could not because she couldn’t afford the medication. With this in mind, the Myeloma community is very appreciative for this lifeline that has been sent in our direction and we look forward to even greater things in the future,” she shared.

She shared that the group is currently serving some fifty persons.

More to Come

CEO Everton Anderson also shared with key stakeholders attending the conference that further additions are coming.

“The Fund goes through a process every year where our offers are assessed and what I can tell you is that we have about fifteen or more conditions being looked at.”

The NHF’s Medical Review Committee – a seven-member sub-committee of the Board  tasked with overseeing the Individual Benefits Programme – reviews the Agency’s offers on an annual basis to consider clinical opinions as well as requests from stakeholders.

Medical professionals, health organisations and other key stakeholders may submit requests via the Individual Benefits Request Form accessible on our website at www.nhf.org.jm.

Eligible persons may enroll for the new conditions to start receiving subsidies on their medication. Existing beneficiaries are also invited to update their NHFCard with any of the conditions added, where applicable. The NHFCard can be used at any of our 460 private participating pharmacies across the island.

 

New Conditions Mr. AndersonChief Executive Officer at the NHF, Everton Anderson, delivering remarks to attendees of the Press Conference held at the Spanish Court Hotel on Tuesday, October 24, 2023.

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