Local June 25, 2013 | 2:28 pm

Officials have pricey insurance as public hospitals languish

Santo Domingo.- The government spends more than US$657.0 million each year on international health insurance for officials in seven agencies, including Congress, NCDN network director Nuria Piera revealed Tuesday.

She said officials of the Administrative and Finance Ministries, both chambers of Congress, the Supreme and Constitutional courts and Customs.

The investigative journalist said because the data provided by the Presidency and other agencies weren’t very specific, she averaged the insurance payments by three departments.

Piera said the senators have policies with the transnational insurer Optimus Plus with coverage as high as two million dollars, and include hospitalization, ICU, outpatient elective surgery, dialysis, organ transplant, maternity, congenital diseases, air ambulance, among others.

From the lowest rate of US$8,000 to more than US$13,000 per year legislators’ coverage tops the list, with justices of the Supreme Court close behind.

Piera said though the Central Bank’s senior officials also get the privileged insurance, her investigation couldn’t establish the plan or the company which provides the coverage.

She added that the insurance isn’t provided to officials of ministries of Public Works, of Women, Foreign Affairs, Higher Education and Industry and Commerce. "It’s clear that while Dominican officials continue to have exclusive health services, it will be difficult for us to get an inclusive health system."

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