_Frequently Asked Questions
 
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UHC Mail

Conway Business Centre
Waterfront, Castries
St. Lucia, W.I.

contact@stluciauhc.org
Tel: (758) 452-6756
Fax: (758) 453-7668

 

See Also: Issues Raised During Meetings between Pharmacies, Doctors, Insurance Companies and Pharmaceutical Importers and the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture to discuss the Universal Health Care System. Click here

Background

Criteria for Qualifying

Services Offered

Coverage

Treatment Overseas

Options

Access

Finance

Always

Never

You will get


Background

  • What is Universal Health Care (UHC)?

    Universal Health Care (UHC) is a health programme that will provide all residents with equal access to quality health services defined in a published package of services and benefits. It is also a supplemental system of financing.

  • Why is UHC being offered now?

    It is important for you to have access to quality health care regardless of your financial status such as where you live or how much income that you earn.

    It is also necessary for us to improve the quality of health care at our hospitals and other health care institutions.


  • Why should I be interested in UHC?

    You should be interested in UHC because it will provide essential health benefits once you are registered. It also aims to achieve the principle of solidarity. This means that the high income earners will support the low income earners, the healthy will support the sick and the young will support senior members of our community.

  • How will UHC work?

    The process of providing you with quality health care under this new system is an easy one. To access the health benefits offered you must first be registered with UHC. When you do so, you will be given a UHC registration card with your photograph and registration number. You will receive information on place and time of registration at a later date.

    You will be registered at a general hospital depending on your permanent home address or where you work. This hospital which is your registered provider will be responsible for your hospital services. However, if you have an emergency you can access the closest emergency room. This way, if you fall sick or need urgent medical attention getting treatment will be onvenient by saving you time.

    Drugs included in the published UHC package are provided at all participating pharmacies and you have access to this medication under UHC coverage.


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Criteria for Qualifying

  • Who may qualify?

    To qualify for services under UHC you must:
    • be a St. Lucian or non-national residing in the country for at least six (6) months of the year in which you are seeking coverage.


  • Who may not qualify?

    The following persons may not qualify to receive services offered by UHC:
    • a Saint Lucian who permanently resides overseas
  • visitors to Saint Lucia such as tourists and diplomats

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Services Offered

  • What services will I benefit from?

    Through UHC you will benefit from the following services:
    • hospital services
    • pharmaceutical services
    • mental health services
    • Limited overseas care
    • blood bank services
    • ambulance services
    • drug rehabilitation services
    • These services are further divided into out patient and hospital services. The primary out patient services you will benefit from are:
      • Specialist consultations by referral
      • Physiotherapy
      • Medication
      • Emergency Consultations
      • Hospital services that will be offered include:
        • Obstetrics
        • Gynecology
        • Internal medicine
        • Pediatrics
        • Surgery
        • Orthopedics
        • Ophthalmology
        • Dermatology
        • Outpatient surgery
        • Urology
        • Dentistry
        • Neurology


      • Which institutions will provide service?

        The two general hospitals, the Victoria Hospital and the St. Jude's Hospital will be the main service providers. However, private health care institutions may be entitled to become providers of services under UHC by meeting certain criteria and becoming registered.

      • What may I do if I am dissatisfied with the service?

        You will have the right to make a complaint if you are dissatisfied with the service provided to you. There will be a chain of command for making your complaint orally or in writing. It starts with your service provider. The court is the last place that you can address your complaint if you have gone through the other options in the order that they appear below:
        1. The service provider (hospital)
        2. The Universal Health Care Office
        3. The Ministry of Health
        4. The Court


      • Will there be penalties for persons who abuse the UHC system?

        Yes. There will be penalties under the law to deal with persons or providers who abuse the system. Examples of abuse are:
        1. unauthorized access to the system such as hospital records
        2. access to pharmaceuticals that have not been prescribed by a doctor and that you do not need
        3. Wrong billing.
        4. Inappropriate referrals by health care workers.
        5. Breach of Confidentiality
        6. Non-adherence to standards.

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      Coverage

      • What types of illnesses will UHC cover?

        Various illnesses that are common in Saint Lucia, such as those associated with Diabetes and Hypertension will be covered under UHC. You can refer to the list of services, common illnesses, essential pharmaceuticals and essential overseas care for more information.

      • What types of illnesses will not be covered?

        . Illnesses that are not included on the list of services will not be covered under UHC. The objective of UHC is to provide the best health care possible for all beneficiaries.

      • How much coverage will I receive?

        You will receive limited coverage in the areas included in the list of the services that UHC will offer. Please refer to the list.

      • Will I be covered for visits to private doctors?

        No. You will not be refunded for visits to your private doctor. If you have private medical insurance you can settle payment of your doctor's fees with that insurance company. However, if you fill your prescription at a pharmacy registered with UHC you will receive free medication if your medication is included on the list of pharmaceutical covered by UHC.

      • What will not be covered by UHC?

        The following will not be covered by UHC:
        1. Visits to your private doctor;
        2. Outpatient lab tests and x-rays;
        3. Visits to a hospital that is not your provider.


      • Isn't health coverage included in my National Insurance Corporation (NIC) contributions?

        No.The 5% deduction from your salary for National Insurance covers your pension, invalidity and sickness benefits. The NIC in-patient hospital benefit was a special arrangement with the government.

        The current arrangement where the NIC contributes $3 million annually to the Consolidated Fund comes to an end when UHC starts.



      • Can't I get the same coverage for less with private insurance companies?

        It is very unlikely that you would be able to calculate a cost of your specific contributions to UHC since payment for UHC is based on a flat tax on the consumption of goods which is different from individual premiums paid for private insurance.

        UHC is universal and lifelong based on your status as a resident as compared to private insurance which has a limit and based on payment of premiums.



      • What will happen to the coverage for health insurance that I already have?

        With the introduction of UHC the insurance companies will adjust their coverage to include benefits not offered by UHC. Therefore, you may continue paying for private insurance. It is your choice.

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      Treatment Overseas

      • What will happen if I need to seek treatment overseas?

        The UHC system includes a limited package of overseas care. We are in the process of negotiating with specific countries and will provide you with more information on this later.

      • Who must pay for treatment overseas?

        UHC will cover the cost of treatment overseas only if the hospital has referred you to an overseas provider. However, if you decide to visit a specialist overseas without referral from UHC you must pay the overseas specialist and other related services.

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      Options

      • What options may I have to seek additional health insurance?

        If you can afford you should continue to have private insurance coverage for medical treatment not covered by UHC.

      Access

      • How does one access the system?

        Remember you can only access hospital service:
        1. Through a referral from your private doctor;
        2. A referral from a health center, polyclinic or district hospital;
        3. If you have an emergency;
        4. If you have registered;
        5. If you have your UHC identification card with you.


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      Finance

      • How will UHC be funded?

        UHC will be funded with a fixed flat tax on the consumption of goods in St Lucia.

      • How much is the fixed tax?

        The fixed tax is a 3.5% - 4% increase to the environmental levy which is now 1%-1.5%. The name will change to health and environmental levy and will now be charged at 5%.

        Please remember that basic goods such as food and clothing are exempt from this tax.



      • Will the Health and Environmental Levy fund 100% of UHC?

        No. The Health and Environmental Levy will raise about EC$30 million. This is about 50% of the funds required for the UHC. The other 50% will be provided by Government which would be its existing contributions to the hospitals.

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      Always

      • What should you always do?

        • carry your UHC identification card in your purse or wallet
        • present your UHC card to the attending nurse or doctor. He or she will check the records speedily on the computer to confirm your registration.
        • visit your practitioner, polyclinic or health centre first when you do not need urgent care
        • take the referral letter given to you to the hospital at which you are registered if you need further medical attention
        • use your medication as prescribed by the pharmacist.


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      Never

      • What you should never do?

        • allow someone else to use your UHC registration card
        • try to change the information on your UHC card or deface it
        • present any false documents at a polyclinic, health centre or hospital
        • obtain or use medication that is not prescribed for you by a doctor
        • collect medication and store them for future use.

      You will get

      • What will you get?

        • treatment for life-threatening illnesses and other illnesses
        • medication prescribed only by your doctor
        • a letter of referral to follow-up your condition with your doctor, district hospital, polyclinic or health centre when you are discharged from the hospital
        • an opportunity to make a complaint if you are dissatisfied with the service


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