By BBN Staff: People who rely on National Health Insurance (NHI) to mitigate the cost of medical services will not be able to do so for the remainder of the month of July.
NHI issued a public notice this morning explaining that, due to budget cuts brought on by the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, all service caps for the insurance scheme have been exhausted.
“Kindly be advised that all NHI referrals for the period July 14 to 31st 2020 will not be processed unless the client is prepared to pay for these services in full,” NHI said.
NHI noted a further change in accessing its services, as decreased budgetary allocations put it in a position of having to limit those who can access services under the scheme to make vulnerable populations a priority. These services include laboratory testing, imaging and pharmaceuticals. NHI also said that its position is not unique, and that the government of Belize has cut the budgets of all its ministries and departments, due to the drastic drop in revenue collection.
Going forward, NHI advised patients to call ahead before going to the clinic.
In an interview last week, NHI Executive Chairman Ramon Figueroa, said that the budget cuts are considerable but could have been sorse. He noted that GOB’s original plan was to cut NHI’s budget by 40 percent along with other ministries and departments, but that NHI negotiated the reduction down to 15 percent.