A Bermudian entrepreneur who provides a life saving service for seniors and the disabled, is calling on FutureCare, and the Ministry of Health to rethink the policy that denies seniors of health insurance coverage.

Dwain Smith, 48, runs Investing in Care, Safety & Security (ICSS), which supplies the Medipendant device that alerts emergency services at the push of a button.

The MediPendant medical alarm system device allows clients to summon emergency services to call an ambulance, firefighters, or the Bermuda Police Service.

Locally, it is used primarily by the disabled and senior citizens. Mr Smith launched ICSS as a home based business five years ago. It requires no physical hardware as the service is based and managed abroad via telecommunications.

While some insurance companies honour and pay Medipendant claims, others do not. On the one hand he said companies like Argus pay while on the others like BF&M, Colonial, and FutureCare don’t.

In a Bermuda Real interview recorded in February, Mr Smith said the policy is “simply ridiculous”, because seniors, especially the ones who live alone need it most; in addition to people who are visually impaired.

A Health Ministry spokeswoman said covering Medipendants would make health insurance premiums too expensive for seniors.

“Consideration was given last year to adding Medipendant as a benefit,” she said. “However, it was determined that adding the Medipendant as a benefit is too costly for premiums to support and would require a significant premium increase.”

But Mr Smith argued “retired civil servants who use Medipendants are covered by GEHI”, in addition to “disabled clients on Financial Assistance”. But seniors on FutureCare are not.

For Gloria Williams, life at 82 is not an easy road. But the peace of mind and sense of security she gets from having a Medipendant makes it a little easier.

Born on July 30th, in 1933, she has lived at Dr Cann’s Senior Community in Southampton for the past seven years.

Now in her 83rd year, she has seen a lot of changes in Bermuda in her lifetime, especially after working in housekeeping for 40 years at what used to be the Sonesta Beach Hotel, formerly known as Carlton Beach.

As one of countless seniors struggling to survive with today’s high cost of living in Bermuda, Ms Williams had strong words for the One Bermuda Alliance Government. Both she and Mr Smith called for a rethink on a policy affecting the fastest growing segment of Bermuda’s population.

By Ceola Wilson