Athlete's $3.7-million medical bill paid
MichaelCampbellcompeting forJamaica in the men's4x100m heats at theWorld Championshpsin London this year.(Photo: CollinReid)

THE MVP Track and Field Club, in a twitter message yesterday, said the $3.7-million medical bill for athlete Michael Campbell has been paid.

The tweet read: “This is to confirm that we have paid all of Michael Campbell's medical bills incurred from the car accident by private resources.”

The Jamaica Observer reported yesterday that Campbell, who was involved in a nasty car crash earlier this month that claimed the life of his MVP teammate Jordan Scott, saw his medical bill ballooning after he was initially admitted to the University Hospital of the West Indies as a public patient, then transferred to the private Tony Thwaites wing of the hospital, as it was believed that he had the Jamaican Athletes Insurance Plan (JAIP) coverage.

MVP President Bruce James had Tuesday declined to comment on the athlete's medical bill, saying he would not comment on the personal or medical affairs of his athletes.

Earlier this week Sport Minister Olivia Grange urged the country's athletes to acquire JAIP coverage and take advantage of the associated benefits. She also reminded the sporting associations of their roles.

“You must ensure that your athletes sign up for the insurance plan once they represent the country nationally or internationally. We have a case in point right now where an athlete was not signed up for the insurance plan and now we have to find ways and means of addressing the cost of his rehabilitation,” she said.

The insurance plan is implemented at just under $60 million per annum for athletes drawn from 28 of the more than 40 sport associations, whose members comprise juniors and seniors.

Coverage is provided for beneficiaries aged seven to 75 and is financed by the Sports Development Foundation, National Health Fund, Tourism Enhancement Fund, and the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education Fund.

Grange had told the Observer Tuesday that she was in touch with Campbell's club, doctor and mother, and they were working together to deal with the situation. She also said Campbell's surgery was successful and that he was on the road to recovery.

The JAIP, which took effect in February 2016, is the Government's group health, group life and personal accident plan for all eligible national athletes. It is part of the National Sports Policy, which was introduced in 2013 and which commits the Government to establish and maintain a sustainable health and life insurance, pension and retirement plan for all eligible national athletes.

JAIP documents state that “a national athlete is identified by the local governing body for that respective athlete's sporting discipline as an athlete who has met all the qualifying standards to be able to represent Jamaica either regionally or internationally. This athlete would therefore be a member of the national team for that sporting discipline until he/she is no longer able to meet the qualifying standards”.

Campbell met these requirements as he represented Jamaica at this year's IAAF World Championships in London.

The 21-year-old ran the third leg in the heats of the 4x100m and handed the baton to Usain Bolt. However, the former Jamaica College student who now attends the University of Technology, Jamaica, was replaced by Yohan Blake in the final.

To be covered under the JAIP an athlete may apply by contacting the programme administrator at the association or federation governing his/her sport and complete the necessary forms.

The Government contributes 95 per cent towards the cost of premiums and the remainder is provided by the national sports associations and federations.

Included in the plan for athletes are general health services along with priority areas such as physiotherapy, overseas emergency services, major medical, overseas non emergency services and maternity benefits. There are also provisions for group life, accidental death, dismemberment and accidental medical reimbursement.

According to a 2016 policy paper from the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport regarding the update of the implementation of the JAIP, approval was given for the award of 1,323 athletes to Guardian Life for group health and Allied Insurance Brokers for group life and personal accident with the insurers being Sagicor.

The paper further stated that since February 1, 2016, the effective date of the contracts, approximately 1,300 athletes from 28 sporting disciplines had been receiving coverage for group health, group life and personal accident insurance.

Additionally, since February 1, 2016 approximately $17.9 million has been paid out in monthly premiums, and claims totalling just over $2 million have been paid out to athletes, while life certificates have been issued.

BY KIMBERLEY HIBBERT Observer staff reporter

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