Puerto Rico Health Dept. says some 200,000 residents lack coverage
SAN JUAN – Six percent of Puerto Rico’s population does not have healthcare coverage, the executive director of the island Health Department’s Medicaid program, Luz Cruz Romero, said Wednesday.
The information was revealed at a hearing held by the House Health Committee, chaired by Rep.Juan Oscar Morales Rodríguez, as part of the study of House Resolution 524 that investigates, among other things, the possibility of allowing the Health Insurance Administration (ASES by its Spanish acronym) to provide employees of the private sector with a health policy through the “Mi Salud” government program, similar to that provided to public employees. No cost estimates were given for the proposed initiative.
The Kaiser Family Foundation “published in October of 2017 a report in which it indicates that for 2015 in Puerto Rico 6 percent of the people were without a medical plan,” Cruz Romero said.
The committee chairman said that percentage represents more than 200,000 people.
“We have a population in Puerto Rico of between 200,000 and 300,000 people who do not have a medical plan, who could face problems when it comes to seeking health services,” he said.
Regarding the number of Medicaid program beneficiaries, Cruz Romero indicated that, as of Sept. 30, there were 1,554,018 eligible people.
As for the possibility of ASES offering a medical plan to private employees, he commented that the ASES Law would need to be amended, as would the allocation of state funds. Concerning the new health plan model, which will be known as “Vital,” he preferred that questions be answered by ASES personnel.
ASES Executive Director Ángela Ávila Marrero said she agreed that all citizens should have the opportunity to be insured with quality policies and spoke of the importance of “having mechanisms that foster wellness in the health of all Puerto Ricans.”