Print this page

Confusion over fees

Saturday July 18, 2015 Written by Published in Health

The cost of health fees for expatriate workers is still causing confusion, weeks after cabinet passed the new National Health Services Fee Schedule on July 1.

 

Two weeks ago, CI News reported that expatriate workers are now in the same category as Cook Islanders for health fees.

The new National Health Services Fee Schedule, covers fees at Rarotonga Hospital, laboratory, radiology, Community Health Services and dental services

Previously contract workers came under the same category as tourists which meant many had to pay $50 to visit a doctor.

As of this month, contract workers who have resided in the Cook Islands for more than six months consecutively, their spouse and their children are eligible for the cheaper local fee.However, many people have contacted CI News saying they are still being charged $50 for a doctor visit at both Rarotonga Hospital and the Tupapa Health Clinic.

CI News spoke to policy writer Valentino Wichman to seek more clarity on the matter.

Wichman confirmed that the new fees schedule has applied to expats since July 1. He was unaware that expats were being refused the cheaper fee.

“If they qualify, as in they have been working here for at least six months consecutively, they should be charged the same as locals,” he said.

Wichman was unsure what the problem was, but said it may be an issue of ‘miscommunication’.

The receptionist at Rarotonga Hospital also confirmed that the change had come into effect, but said contract workers needed to provide relevant documentation first. In order to be registered for the local rate, people need to go the hospital or Tupapa clinic with their passport and work permit.Once these documents are provided, expats who have worked and lived in the Cook Islands for six months or longer will be registered in the system and charged the local rate.