What proportion of the population is not covered by health insurance (private or public)? | Jamaica What proportion of the population is not covered by health insurance (private or public)? | Jamaica

27 Sep 2022

Only 20% of Jamaicans have either private or public health insurance, the majority of which are public sector workers (MOHW, 2019). This leaves 80% of the population, or approximately 2 million Jamaicans totally uninsured (Ministry of Health and Wellness NIHP Green Paper, 2019). It is not surprising then that in 2016, approximately 32% of Jamaicans reported that they were unable to access healthcare when they needed it due to the financial strain (JIS, 2019).

In terms of older Jamaicans, the National Council for Senior Citizens’ National Policy (Green Paper) (Ministry of Labour and Social Security, 2018) noted an improvement in the number of older persons with health insurance, which increased from 4% in 1995 to 23% in 2012, according to results from the Senior Citizens module of the 2012 Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions report (PIOJ, 2012). However, only 10% of persons in the lowest consumption group reported having health insurance coverage. The policy also noted that with 72% of the population having chronic illnesses, there needs to be better coverage of health insurance among older Jamaicans.

Of those who were covered by health insurance, most of this coverage came from the private sector. Only 3.8% of persons with health insurance were covered by the National Insurance (NIS) contributory scheme. Additionally, former Government employees were more likely to have insurance (compared with persons who had been self-employed).

With regards to pension coverage, the 2012 survey data shows that 64,1% of older persons benefitted from NIS pension. this represents a five-fold increase from 13.6 per cent reported in 1995. There was no real difference by gender, region, or age group noted. In 2014, a total of 103,158 persons benefited from NIS with 74 per cent (76,036) categorised as old age pension recipients.

For occupational pension plans, just over 48.0 per cent of older population who received a pension received less than $10,000.00 per month while 13.2 per cent of pensioners received $60,000.00 or more per month. More males than females received pensions of $60,000 or more. The greatest proportion of persons receiving occupational pensions was in the Kingston Metropolitan Area, while the lowest was in the Rural Areas (PIOJ, 2012).


Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW). (2019). The Intervention. Available from: https://jis.gov.jm/media/2019/05/Sectoral-2019_Tufton-Speech-version_final.pdf

Ministry of Health and Wellness NIHP Green Paper. (2019). Green Paper on National Health Insurance Plan for Jamaica. Available from: https://www.moh.gov.jm/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/NHIP-Greenpaper-2019-Edited-7_5_19-Final.pdf

Ministry of Labour and Social Security. (2018). National Policy for Senior Citizens (Green Paper) 2018. https://opm.gov.jm/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Green-Paper-National-Policy-for-Senior-Citizens-1-1.pdf

PIOJ. (2012). Executive Summary: JSLC. In Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions.