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(Jamaican Gleaner) – Students of The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, will be able to access medical care islandwide at private and public institutions come September 2020, following the passing of an extended health-card policy led by the students’ guild.

Prior to the policy change, students were only able to obtain medical services and prescription drugs at the UWI Health Centre or at public hospitals in Jamaica.

Additionally, if students access private emergency care, once evidence of prescription drugs purchased is presented to the health centre, students are approved for reimbursements.

All registered students become eligible for the university’s mandatory health insurance plan and are issued health cards at the start of each academic year, once their miscellaneous fees have been paid.

Guild President Christina Williams told The Gleaner that over the years, hundreds of students, including her, opted not to collect their health cards because of the limited access it provides.

“It feels really good to know that I was able to accomplish this for my students, and this project won’t just be for those students who are here now, but also for those in years to come. Every year, the university resends a tender, and I’ve said to the incoming president that after the first year, if there is anything that you want to be adjusted, you have the right to do so,” Williams explained.

The policy change will reflect a $450 increase in the health insurance fee paid by students for the upcoming academic year.

With The UWI taking a greater approach to blended learning, Williams said the new policy could not be more timely as students will now have the option of seeking medical care closer to home and without venturing on campus.

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