Effective today, Monday (March 6), NHF Cardholders will pay less out of pocket for select medications, due to an increase in subsidies for over 380 pharmaceutical items.
The changes to the NHFCard Programme include subsidy increases for eight highly prevalent conditions – hypertension, ischaemic heart disease, vascular disease, diabetes, psychosis, glaucoma, sickle cell disease and epilepsy.
Five of these conditions have accounted for 78 per cent of the total subsidy payout by the Fund in the last five fiscal years. The increased subsidies will bring the average subsidy rate to 47 per cent.
The projected annual cost to the Fund for the subsidy increase is estimated at $474 million.
“Improving access to medication is a priority of the Fund. Periodic reviews of subsidies are done to assess the needs of our beneficiaries and the affordability of pharmaceuticals. The Board of Management then approves increases based on the ability of the Fund to sustain payments,” said Everton Anderson, chief executive officer – NHF.
“This year marks our 20th anniversary, and we are pleased to announce these new benefits. Thousands of Jamaicans who are enrolled on the NHFCard programme will now experience further financial relief by way of higher subsidies on approximately 380 medications for the treatment of their illnesses,” Anderson added.
The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test was also added as new a benefit in February. Male beneficiaries 40 years and older can now access the test at select laboratories once per year at a subsidy of $1,600.
The PSA test joins the Breast Cancer Receptor Studies, and the HbA1C test as the diagnostic tests subsidised by the agency.
According to the release, the NHF will continue to monitor its programme in order to expand the list of benefits covered and to support the Ministry of Health & Wellness agenda in combating non-communicable diseases.