Police detail shortcomings of their medical insurance and Govt’s failure to reimburse for out-of-pocket expenses

Complaints continue to come in from police officers who have fallen sick and are unable to get proper medical treatment because of the inadequacy of their insurance.

Ironically, a source says, quite often these ailments are work related.

It is acknowledged that private healthcare in Antigua and Barbuda is expensive.  Accordingly, police officers should be able to access free medical treatment at the hospital.  

However, a female officer complains that, very often, the hospital’s equipment is out of service or the facility is simply unable to conduct certain tests.

The officer reports that some of her colleagues go without treatment or the proper medication, because they are unable to afford it, given that many of them are living from pay cheque to pay cheque.

Without a savings account or someone who is able to assist financially, police personnel end up suffering, the officer charges, and there are too many in the Force, at present, who are sick and not receiving the proper treatment.

Reportedly, this year alone, several officers have died, the source says.  She notes that, last year, a policeman was killed in the line of duty, while another suffered an on-the-job accident and later passed away.

Having full medical insurance would create a significant sense of ease for officers, the source continues.  They would then be able to visit a private doctor, present their card, and receive treatment that would allow them to return to their job of serving and protecting the Nation, the source says.

Another challenge that officers face is being reimbursed for payments for medical care.  Based on the law, the source claims, officers expect to be repaid some portion of their out-of-pocket medical expenses.

However, she says that a number of police officers have been trying to get their reimbursement from the Treasury – for years – without luck, with one senior officer being owed more than $7,000 and unable to collect.

In this regard, the officer says, full medical insurance would make it much easier on the Government, since there would no longer be a need for reimbursement.

Given the situation, officers are calling on the Administration to take better care of them since they put their lives on the line daily and do not have risk allowance.