About the program
The Global Travel and Tourism Resilience Council, working with the Global Tourism Resilience & Crisis Management Centre, have brought together Global Rescue, Sagicor, and MSH International to create Jamaica Cares.
This groundbreaking program provides all visitors to Jamaica with access to traveler protection and medical services and guarantees a first-of-its-kind suite of medical emergency management and travel insurance from departure to return.
- International health coverage up to $100,000 for visitors traveling to and from Jamaica.
- Access to case management, transport logistics, evacuation, and repatriation for any medical emergency, including COVID-19.
- On-island health coverage up to $50,000.
Visitors to Jamaica will pay a mandatory fee of less than $40.00 per person as part of the Travel Authorization Application, entitling the traveler to benefits and services of Jamaica Cares.
An industry survey by emergency services provider Global Rescue found a majority of travelers are willing to pay for screening and testing services to minimize the effects of COVID-19. Over 90% agreed they would feel safer if all travelers had services and protections that cover COVID-19 testing, required quarantines, evacuation costs in the event of exposure or infection, and door-to-door travel insurance.
Insider Video: Behind the New Jamaica Cares Traveller Protection Plan
Edmund Bartlett, minister of tourism for Jamaica, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about the new Jamaica Cares traveller protection and emergency services program, which offers international and on-island coverage including COVID-19 coverage for a mandatory $40 fee per visitor. The goal is to get travellers to be more confident in visiting Jamaica. For more information on Jamaica Cares, visit www.gtrcmc.org. No time to watch this video? Listen to the audio podcast with the same title, available on Spotify, Pandora, Stitcher, TuneIn + Alexa, Podbean, Google, iTunes Apple Podcasts and Amazon Music/Audible.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is this standard travel insurance?
- Travel insurance only protects your wallet. The Jamaica Cares program provides services for travellers including: evacuations, field rescue, case management and patient advocacy; cost of medical care and testing for symptomatic travellers; quarantine/isolation in a medical facility or in sanctioned quarantine facilities.
- Is there any insurance in the program? And what is the total coverage offered?
- The Jamaica Cares program consist of three components:
- 1) Global Rescue Cooperatief services, which are not insurance, includes case management, advising, logistics, field rescue, evacuation, and repatriation, among others, per the applicable Global Rescue Cooperatief Member Services Agreement.
- If a medical emergency occurs on the island, domestic health coverage will be provided by local insurer. The limit on this insurance is [$50,000 USD] per their Plan Document.
- The Jamaica Cares program consist of three components:
- In the event of a medical emergency off-island during travel International health coverage is provided by a global insurer. The limit on this insurance is $100,000 USD per their Plan Document. This component also provides up to $5,000 USD in trip interruption in case you incur losses regarding your travel arrangements due to your emergency.
- Will individuals be required to purchase this insurance if they already have a global travel/healthcare insurance policy from another provider?
- Jamaica Cares program Is compulsory of all non-Jamaican passport holders, regardless of their existing insurance status.
- Does U.S. healthcare insurance work in Jamaica?
- Generally, yes. However, each plan is different and many gaps exist in coverage. Medicare recipients, for example, need to obtain gap coverage to be covered outside the U.S.
- Will this program continue to pay for US/Canada healthcare and logistics expenses after a patient is airlifted to the US/Canada?
- The international insurance program being proposed will cover foreign nationals after they return to their country of origin for up 14 days, including any intermediate stops in other foreign countries that may occur during transport
- What medical conditions does this program cover? Is this policy exclusively for emergency care situations?
- Global Rescue services are available for anyone who contacts the hotline who is enrolled in the program. The domestic/international medical component provides coverage for unforeseen medical emergencies, including COVID-19.
- Is this program solely intended for healthcare and healthcare logistics? Will it reimburse the costs of lodging and flight if a trip is cancelled because of a health issue?
- The Global Rescue Cooperatief services are available for anyone experiencing an emergency from a medical crisis, security crisis, natural disaster, terrorism or other travel related crisis. The medical coverages are described in the insuers’ description of benefits. The cost of lodging and flights is not covered, however it does provide $5,000 USD of trip interruption coverage should the traveller experience an unexpected emergency en route to Jamaica or for lost travel fees incurred due to the emergency.
- How long will this program last?
- The program will last for as long as necessary and is not tied to the end of the pandemic
- If a vaccine comes out will the program continue?
- The program is not tied to the end of the pandemic
- Does each single transaction provide coverage for the duration of the package purchased, or is a new transaction required for every visit?
- The Jamaica Cares program will be available for up to 30 days per visit. For multiple visits, the visitor will have to pay each time for entry.
- Can Jamaicans benefit from this product?
- Increased tourism brings a necessary major revenue stream to the island. Drastically reducing the percentage of infected visitors to the island will help reduce the spread of the disease among Jamaicans as well. It also ensures the local health systems are not overly burdened.
- Where will I be repatriated to if I am a US citizen?
- If repatriation is necessary, travellers who are hospitalized will be transported to the closest port of entry, probably in Miami unless other arrangements have been made.
- If a person requires private airlift because of a health issue, can that be arranged to other key cities in the US, or is Miami the only option? Who is responsible for the cost of transfer from Miami to the patient’s home city?
- COVID-19 positive individuals will be transported to the nearest appropriate care/quarantine location in their home country when/if they require transport beyond what is available locally. The location will be determined by both the care/quarantine requirements appropriate to the individual and applicable government regulations in force at the time of transport.
- Are all travellers required to purchase this insurance? Even children? Is there a family package?
- All travellers with foreign passports are required to enrol in the program prior to being allowed to enter Jamaica. There is no “family package.”
- Can Jamaican passport holders purchase this insurance or is it only for visitors with international passports?
- The Jamaica Cares program is currently only available for purchase by foreign nationals.
- How does a traveller access this program if they want to visit Jamaica?
- The Jamaica Cares program is available to all individuals who have paid the enrolment fee and successfully enrolled in the program. They will be provided with the method of contacting and using the services at the time of enrolment.
- What should a passenger do if you repatriate them and they already have a return ticket?
- If a visitor is fit to fly and permitted to repatriate using their commercial airline ticket they should do so. If a visitor meets specific conditions and is repatriated on a chartered flight or air ambulance the Jamaica Cares program covers the cost of the air and ground transportation. The cost of the unused commercial airline ticket must be reconciled between the passenger, the airline, and the travel insurance provider, if any.
- What if the traveller chooses to use his return ticket instead of the med-evacuation?
- If a visitor is fit to fly and permitted to repatriate using their commercial airline ticket they should do so. Commercial carriers will generally not allow COVID-positive passengers to board so that option will not be generally available.
- What services do travellers get and when?
- Services for travellers include: Evacuations, field rescue, mass evacuations; case management and patient advocacy; cost of medical care and testing for symptomatic travellers; quarantine/isolation in a medical facility or in sanctioned quarantine facilities.
- How can US citizens receive medical coverage once they are back in the US?
- The Jamaica Cares program provides case management, patient advocacy, and cost of medical care and testing for symptomatic travellers while in Jamaica and during transport to and from the island. Once a repatriated visitor returns to their home hospital of choice the program provides insurance for those costs in conjunction with their personal health insurance.
- Do I have to go into quarantine in Jamaica?
- Jamaica’s government requires self-isolation or quarantine for visitors under specific circumstances including COVID-19 exposure, having symptoms consistent with COVID-19, and testing positive for COVID-19 infection. Quarantine is not required for general incoming healthy visitors.
- Who takes care of me if I am tested positive in Jamaica?
- The Jamaica Cares program provides that visitors testing positive for COVID-19 will be transferred to a hospital or government quarantine facility where they will receive local care. Medical expenses will be offset by contracted Insurance. Global Rescue’s medical and crisis response capabilities are supported by the Johns Hopkins Emergency Medicine Division of Special Operations and other medical partners.
- Is testing included in the price of the fee?
- Testing is included in the visitor fee if the individual has been selected for testing based on random selection, point of origin, and/or suspected symptoms. The Government of Jamaica has implemented enhanced screening and quarantine measures, that may include testing, to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- Why is the program mandatory?
- Mandatory participation for all visitors to Jamaica is the cornerstone of equally providing a broad set of services designed to minimize the effects of COVID-19 in the event of an infection. To do otherwise would create a patch-work of safety protections, put an undue, perhaps unsustainable, burden on local medical resources, become an economic hardship on any infected visitor, and have a chilling effect on traveler decisions to visit Jamaica. The mandatory fee ensures everyone is protected and the fee is extremely affordable. Adverse selection is eliminated.
- Why do travellers have to buy this if they already have insurance?
- Travellers insurance does not provide the same level of protection that every visitor will receive through the Jamaica Cares Additionally, the administrative cost to verify the adequacy and status of every visitor’s policies is prohibitively expensive.
- Can travellers from beyond North America purchase the coverage?
- Will airlift be available internationally beyond Miami and Toronto?
- Does this program apply to cruise travellers?
- Jamaica Cares is available to anyone entering Jamaica with a foreign passport who has paid the enrolment fee and successfully enrolled through the system.
- Why is this called the “gold standard” of destination preparedness and resiliency?
- Jamaica is reopening to tourism with a best-practices approach and by setting the gold standard for tourism not only for the region, but globally. By combining Global Rescue’s industry leading services with domestic/international travel medical insurance, travellers will have the peace of mind to travel again knowing their health, wellbeing and emergent medical costs are covered.
- Why now? Is the creation of this program a response to the pandemic?
- Discussions regarding creating a best-in-class program to provide a higher level of confidence for the travellers started nearly two years ago. Given the challenges faced by travel and tourism in 2020, now is the ideal time to launch this program.