|Low-income receive compensation for glasses and dental costs|
|Friday, 5 April 2013 09:59|
WILLEMSTAD — Civil servant pension association Upah applauds the initiative of the Council of Ministers to compensate the glasses and dental costs of pensioners with an income below 3500 guilders and people of limited means below 1500 guilders per month. According to Upah-chairman Cesar Riedel, the cabinet realized that the elderly in particular could become isolated without these compensations.Outgoing minister of Health, Ben Whiteman (PS) stated the measure is a forerunner of the repair legislation for the basic medical insurance. This measure will cost the government approx. 6.6 million guilders. Implementing organ SVB will have to cover this amount. This means SVB must reduce the management costs and other medical costs, said SVB-director Philip Martis.
This efficiency move required of those in the medical sector will not be at the expense of the medical care on Curaçao, said the SVB-director. “This means 6.6 million guilders less on the approx. 500 million guilders needed in the medical care”, said Martis. According to Minister Whiteman, the Ministry of Finance is test the decision with the available means. In other words, the decision will probably be implemented within a week or two.
The SVB-director expects that those qualifying for compensation of glasses and dental costs can do so within short. The procedure for applications for aids applies. Patients will need prior permission from the SVB for several aids, including optic aids.
“For their social life seniors often need glasses”, said Riedel. “They are handicapped without these”, the Upah-chairman explained. He hopes that in anticipation of the repair legislation for the basic medical insurance this temporary measure will have a permanent character.
The basic medical insurance became effective on February 1st. This insurance, implemented by the SVB, no longer includes compensation for glasses and dental costs for people of limited means and retired civil servants. According to Riedel, there are numerous pensioners who cannot pay these medical costs. Last week he paid the dental costs for an elderly. “The elderly was unable to pay the 125 guilders, had suffered pain for one week, was prescribed painkillers by his family doctor but these hadn’t helped. He had then approached me for help. I don’t think the policymakers actually realize these compensations are important. The repair legislation must be realized.”
According to Whiteman, the criticism on the basic medical insurance is justified. The repair legislation consists of adjusting the medical care package, increasing the funds and a technical improvement of the text of the law.