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Business fined for health insurance offences

| 09/02/2015 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): A construction company owner fined by the courts for health insurance infractions did not have the option of avoiding appearing in the dock and paying an administrative fine, as allowed under amendments to the Health Insurance Law, because his offences occurred before the changes to the law were implemented.

Local construction company owner, Wendel Wendel, appeared at a court hearing on 28 January before Acting Magistrate Angelyn Hernandez, who found that there were at least three counts against Wendel Construction Ltd. Wendel was fined CI$1,500.00 for failing to pay health insurance fees for himself and one of his employees in 2013.

Acting Magistrate Hernandez imposed a CI$1,000 fine, to be paid in one week, or one month imprisonment on the defendant, who pled guilty. An additional CI$500 fine or two weeks imprisonment resulted from failure to pay his own health insurance. The company owner was also required to pay CI$1,153.07 to settle an outstanding bill for the employee at the Health Services Authority.

Pleased with the outcome of the case, Superintendent of Health Insurance Mervyn Conolly promised, “My department will continue to work to improve health insurance coverage for all workers.”

The Health Insurance Commission, which regulates any disputes regarding provisions of the health insurance in the Cayman Islands, now has the power to impose fines up to $1,000 administratively, without using the courts, for both employers and insurance companies for infractions of the health insurance law.

However, Conolly explained that the defendant in this case did not have the option as the offences occurred and the case was submitted to the courts before the implementation of the  recent amendments to the legislation. “Accordingly, his case could not be considered under the Administrative Fines system,” he told CNS Business, noting that these are only applicable to case files compiled after August 2014.

With recent amendments to the Health Insurance Law, the accused person or company can still opt to take the matter to court instead of paying the fines and they will end up in the dock anyway if the matter is not resolved administratively. However, fines that may be applied to such violations significantly increased from CI$5,000 to CI$30,000 in Summary Court  and  CI$10,000 to  CI$40,000 in the Grand Court.

Conolly added, “I therefore hope that the recent rulings by the acting magistrate will serve as a reminder to all employers that it is important to adhere to the health insurance legislation.”

Related article on CNS Business: $1,000 fines for health insurance offences

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Category: Insurance, Local Business

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