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Jamaica to charge travellers health insurance fee starting next month

Visitors to Jamaica will soon have to pay a small, mandatory insurance fee for emergency medical and crisis response services as a precautionary measure amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Starting in November, all non-Jamaican passport holders must pay a mandatory fee of US$40 to the new Jamaica Cares Insurance Programme, Minister of Tourism, and Co-chair of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC), Hon. Edmund Bartlett, announced Monday (October 26).

Jamaica is the first country in the world to offer this end-to-end health logistics coverage, according to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, aimed at providing travel protection and emergency services to tourists coming into the island, as well as to ensure the safety and protection of workers in the tourism sector and, by extension Jamaican citizens.

The COVID-19 services will include rapid testing and triage for symptomatic travellers’ treatment and associated care as needed in Jamaica, that includes up to $50,000 medical insurance coverage, access to Global Rescue personnel in Jamaica to ensure immediate response and up to $100,000 of international medical coverage to include medical costs that are incurred during travel home, repatriation and evacuation operations.

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“If an unexpected medical emergency occurs, this programme has identified precisely the components that ensure the best possible outcome for the traveller,” he added.

The fee is also to support the work at the Jamaica Operations Centre (JOC), which will be based in Montego Bay, St. James.

The initiative was made possible through a public-private partnership between Jamaican authorities and Global Rescue, the emergency services firm said in a news release.

Meanwhile, President and Chief Executive Officer of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Gloria Guevara Manzo, also praised Jamaica for the initiative.

“This is a step in the right direction that we’re truly hoping that other countries will follow, so that we can continue rebuilding trust from the travellers and moving in accelerated recovery,” she said.