By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, March 7 — Without saying what it costs nor what it covers, the Cuban government announced it would obligate tourists to buy health insurance in order to visit the island.
The same measure applies for Cubans living abroad and returning home for visits and for foreigners living in the country.
See Havana Times editorial
The decision was taken at an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers on February 16 and published ten days later in the Official Gazette.
According to the measure that takes effect on May 1, 2010, the government says medical insurance policies purchased abroad must be from insurance companies recognized in Cuba.
It also states that sales points will be established at points of entrance to the country for purchase from Cuban companies.
Diplomatic personnel and representatives of foreign organizations are exempt from mandatory insurance.
The Ministry of Finance and Prices is the entity empowered by the Council of Ministers to set the price of the insurance polices to be sold by Cuban companies.
Below is a Havana Times translation of the above mentioned measure:
FROM THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA
MINISTRY OF JUSTICE
Information in this extraordinary
Official Gazette issue (No. 011 of February 26, 2010)
COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
The Secretary of the Council of Ministers
Whereas the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers, making use of the powers granted it by Article 97 of the Constitution of the Republic, adopted on February 16, 2010, the following:
FIRST: For entry into the country, all travelers, foreigners and Cuban overseas residents are required to possess a travel insurance policy, covering medical expenses, issued by an insurance entity recognized in Cuba.
At points of entry into the country, the sale of these policies will be ensured by Cuban insurance entities.
SECOND: During their stay in the country, foreigners with temporary residence in Cuba are required to have a medical insurance policy issued by a Cuban or foreign insurance entity recognized in Cuba.
THIRD: Diplomatic personnel and representatives of international organizations accredited in Cuba shall be excluded from application of the previous regulation.
FOURTH: The Minister of Finances and Prices shall be made responsible for approving the forms of charging for medical services and evaluating insurance policies contracted through Cuban insurance entities, applicable to foreign as well as Cuban overseas residents and temporary foreign residents.
FIFTH: The ministers of Public Health and Tourism are authorized, in accordance with their respective responsibilities, to dictate the norms relative to the reorganization of medical care for travelers and foreigners, as well as for Cuban overseas residents and temporary foreign residents.
SIXTH: The present Agreement shall go into effect on May 1, 2010.
In order to provide copies of this agreement to the members of the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers and to all others for which it is pertinent, the present certification is being dispatched from the Palace of the Revolution on February 16, 2010.