The North P&I Club launched a new campaign for 2014 aimed at reminding members of the importance of providing high quality healthcare while avoiding excessive medical costs, the club said. An information sheet entitled 'People Claims: Controlling the Cost' is being circulated to all entered ships and members' offices this week with the latest issue of the club's loss prevention newsletter Signals.
"Illness and injuries are an unfortunate aspect of living and working on ships, as are the associated costs of treatment," said North's head of loss prevention Tony Baker. "In our experience targeted loss prevention initiatives can deliver high quality treatment and at the same time help control the potentially significant medical costs associated with illnesses and injuries."
Baker points out that any illness or injury claim on board is immediately made more serious by the vessel’s distance from port. "As well as the increased risk to health for the seafarer, the medical treatment both at the next port of call and where repatriation is required, and any contractual and/or statutory benefits arising from the claim may end up being very costly."
North said it has developed and supported several initiatives over the years to provide high quality care for the seafarer, mitigate claims, reduce costs and improve service to members.
They include the club's long-standing pre-employment medical programs in the Philippines and the Ukraine, a post-repatriation medical scheme for Filipino seafarers and a comprehensive medical assistance scheme in the USA called First Call. Operated in association with local specialists, the schemes have all helped Members significantly reduce their medical bills while ensuring high quality care and treatment.
North is also reminding members calling at European ports to ensure that crew members from the European Economic Area (EEA) carry European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC). These may entitle them to medical treatment in another EEA state for free, or at a reduced cost, if treatment becomes necessary during their visit.