J/ca to introduce insurance plan for athletes

KINGSTON, Jamaica,  CMC- Jamaica is proceeding with plans to introduce a National Insurance and Retirement Benefits Plan for athletes

The plan is expected to provide basic health coverage for all qualified national athletes, who represent Jamaica or have attained the specified professional level in their various sporting disciplines.

A draft proposal for the plan, announced during debate in the House of Representatives earlier this month, is being reviewed by a number of organizations including the National Council on Sports.

“We intend to help defray the costs of the premiums by reprogramming funds that are currently available on a discretionary basis, to assist in offsetting medical expenses for our elite athletes, and from all areas that benefit from the inputs of sport, such as the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), the National Health Fund and the Sport Development Foundation” said minister with responsibility for sport Neita Headley.

A proposal of the National Athlete Insurance and Retirement Benefits Plan is to be submitted to Cabinet for review and approval.

“We will be going to tender to identify the insurance company that will provide this long overdue protection to our national and professional athletes,” said Headley.

“Each sport association or federation would be called upon to identify the athletes, who would meet the defined criteria for coverage under…the plan”.

Meantime, Prime Minister and Minister of Sport Portia Simpson Miller has urged the National Council on Sport to press ahead with the establishment of the state-of-the-art Wellness Centre.

The centre being proposed is expected to incorporate medical, diagnostic, therapeutic and general wellness services for all national athletes.

“The project is long overdue and I urge the Committee that has been established to begin to have discussions and make recommendations as we move towards its development” said Prime Minister Simpson Miller who met recently with the Sport Council at Jamaica House.

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