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Government of Jamaica

PHARMACY OWNER PRAISE NHF FOR QUICK SETTLEMENT OF CLAIMS

PHARMACY OWNER PRAISE NHF FOR QUICK SETTLEMENT OF CLAIMS

Over sixty percent of the island?s retail pharmacies are now accepting NHF health cards. Two hundred and two (202) of the 321 available pharmacies have contracts with the NHF to accept the NHF health card.

The greatest concentrations of pharmacies are found in population centres. In Kingston and St. Andrew there are 55 pharmacies that are accepting NHF cards, out of an available 70 pharmacies. This represents approximately 80 percent of available pharmacies in Kingston. In Montego Bay 14 out of an available 25 pharmacies are accepting NHF cards.

President of the Pharmacy Owners Association, Mr. Stephen Delapenha says the NHF has proven to be a most efficient organization with regards to the payment of claims. He says ?The NHF has lived up to its promise to settle claims within 14 days. ?From my own experience,? he says, ?I am able to collect a cheque from the NHF every week.? He is the owner of Mayfair Pharmacy in Kingston and Town Centre Pharmacy in Spanish Town.

Mr. Delaphena says presently with regards to the payment of claims while all the health insurance companies have improved tremendously over the past five years, the NHF is still ahead of all of them in settling claims quickly. This he notes may be attributed to the smaller volumes, as the NHF has not yet reached its maximum capacity. However Mr. Aubrey Blair, Vice President of Finance at the NHF says the electronic processing system in place at the NHF would ensure that even with significant increases in claims the NHF would still be able to settle claims within a week regardless of the volume of claims. ?In fact claims have increased by over 60% since the benefits were increased in November 2004,? he says ?and this has not affected our ability to settle claims on a timely basis.? Claims from pharmacies have been increasing and as a result the NHF has made claim settlements to some providers to the tune of $80,000 per week.

Dahlia McDaniel the owner of Charlie?s Pharmacy in Kingston also expressed satisfaction with the NHF and agreed with Mr. Delaphena that while all health insurance companies pay well NHF is still ?a little bit better.? She noted that at first her claims to the NHF were very small, however as the number of persons using the card has increased as well as the number of drugs covered by the NHF has also increased, her claims are much more reasonable.

Mrs. Winsome Shay Acting Marketing Managing at HCL says the Drug Serv Pharmacies have also experienced a steady increase in claims which have spiraled since the drugs were increased in November last year. Themise Livingstone, Pharmacy in Charge at the Drug Serv Pharmacy in Portmore notes that NHF beneficiaries have been utilizing the NHF Individual Benefits List Booklet and have been demanding their NHF subsidies listed for their pharmaceutical items. This she notes may be helping to drive the increase in claims to the NHF.

Pharmacies have the option of either collecting their cheques from the NHF in New Kingston or have them posted. Perina Horne, Supervisor of the City Plaza Pharmacy in Port Antonio, Portland, says cheques are received regularly through the mail and so far she has no complaints.

The Vice President of Finance, NHF also advises that the NHF is considering the electronic transfer of payments to those pharmacies who are interested in having their claims paid in this manner. Letters have been sent to pharmacy owners in this regard. However he notes that in order for this to be economically feasible there would need to be a significant number of pharmacy owners opting for this method of payment.

Contact: Rosemarie Lee, Public Information Officer

Tel 906-1106

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