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Shared Responsibility: A New Proposal for National Health Insurance

At a glance

  • NHI Bahamas establishes a new Standard Health Benefit – which will include treatments for high cost conditions and procedures in addition to primary care.
  • The Standard Health Benefit will ensure affordable, comprehensive health coverage for every Bahamian.
  • Certain employed persons will contribute between $8-$42 per month or up to 2% of their salary to private insurance companies for the NHI Standard Health Benefit, with employers paying remainder of the premium.
  • A new national wellness program will focus on prevention and health education.
  • Open, transparent consultation process will give Bahamians an opportunity to have their voice heard.

Provide your feedback to the NHIA on the new proposal by December 6, 2018!


A shared responsibility for health care

On October 23, 2018, the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) launched a 45-day consultation period to discuss proposed changes to the NHI Bahamas program.

Following the principle of shared responsibility – between the government, employers and citizens – the new plan expands health care coverage beyond just primary care to high cost treatments that will save lives.

Standard Health Benefit (SHB)

The establishment of a Standard Health Benefit (SHB) will ensure all health insurance plans in The Bahamas offer the same benefits package outlined by NHI to all Bahamians – this includes an expanded primary care package and high cost treatments such as diagnostic scans like x-rays, mammograms and ultrasounds and treatment for certain cancers, heart attack and kidney disease.

Employer Mandate

Under the principle of shared responsibility, the establishment of an Employer Mandate will require businesses and employees to share the cost of the SHB premium – with some exemptions outlined in the policy paper.

Employees will pay 2% of their salary to a maximum of $42 per month, with the employer paying the remainder of the premium. The Employer Mandate will be phased in, starting in January 2020 for businesses with over 100 employees, then eventually will be expanded to include all employers over the coming years.

Under the proposed model, the NHIA will provide the Standard Health Benefit to those who do not fall under the Employer Mandate, including children, retirees, indigents and unemployed persons.

National wellness program

A national wellness program will be rolled out concurrently NHI for its beneficiaries initially, with initiatives aimed at improving the health of the Bahamian population over time. The program will focus on prevention, health education, health promotion, and community outreach programs, and will be funded through taxation of certain unhealthy products, such as sugary drinks.

NHI Survey Responses

A patient satisfaction survey conducted by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has revealed that over 95% of beneficiaries were either very satisfied or satisfied with the health care experience they received from their NHI doctor. The survey, which was completed by 5,122 beneficiaries between July and November 2018, also received very positive feedback in terms of quality of service received.

Click on the links to read full responses from adults, minors and from email survey participants.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How is the NHI Bahamas program changing?

NHI Bahamas is undergoing a transformation to improve health care services in The Bahamas. The new direction for NHI Bahamas proposes that primary care services be expanded to include cancer screening programs and diagnostic imaging (e.g. various x-rays, ultrasounds). In addition, a high cost care program will be implemented to include comprehensive coverage for select conditions or treatments, all of which have a high prevalence in The Bahamas, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, cervical cancer, heart attack, need for a pacemaker, and dialysis.

How much will I have to pay?

Under the new NHI program, contributions from employed persons and their employers will go to private insurers to cover the NHI Standard Health Benefit package.

The plan requires employees to contribute between the lesser of $42 per month or 2% of their salary to private insurance companies for the NHI Standard Health Benefit, with employers paying remainder of the premium. For example, if you make $20,000 BSD per year, your monthly contribution will be around $33 per month. This will entitle you to receive both primary care and high cost treatments that can save your life.

If you do not work, you will not make any contribution

What if I already have health insurance?

Bahamians do not have to give up their existing health insurance under the new NHI program that the NHI Authority has proposed.

If you already have private health insurance coverage, your coverage likely already includes the benefits required under Standard Health Benefit. For some, your coverage might change. If you are employed by an organization that falls under the Employer Mandate with 100 employees or more, your benefits may be strengthened through the NHI Standard Health Benefit – and you would be sharing the cost of the premium with your employer based on your income.

How is NHI Bahamas helping Bahamians?

Since the launch of NHI in April 2017, more than 42,000 beneficiaries have enrolled in the program with high levels of satisfaction reported by persons who are receiving primary care services.

When will the new NHI program be implemented?

The following implementation timeline for the revamped NHI program is being proposed:

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April-July 2019

Introduction of Standard Health Benefit and NHI expanded coverage
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July 2019

Launch of Sugary Drinks Tax and the National Wellness Program
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January 2020

Launch of Employer Mandate for businesses with 100+ employees
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January 2021

Employer Mandate Expansion (all employers) and deadline for all grandfathered private insurance plans.

How can I have my voice heard?

Stakeholders and members of the public are encouraged to review the policy paper and submit their feedback through the online consultation survey by December 6, 2018.

The NHIA will also be scheduling individual meetings with stakeholder groups and will be hosting town hall meetings in New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Family Islands during the consultation period.

Where can I find more information?

As part of the launch of the consultation period, the NHIA released a policy paper entitled National Health Insurance: A Shared Responsibility, which outlines the proposed policy framework for the revamped NHI program. Under the new proposal, NHI promises to be affordable, realistic, and sustainable, with a goal to act as a catalyst for change in the way Bahamians experience health care.

You can read the policy paper here.


Dr Roberts clarifies misconceptions about NHI

NHI Authority Board Chairman Dr. Roberts clarifies some misconceptions about the new proposed plan for NHI.


NHI Bahamas aims to do just that.

National Health Insurance Bahamas aims to ensure that all Bahamians and legal residents — no matter your income, age, island of residence or current health status — can receive health care.

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has been established to oversee the implementation of NHI Bahamas.

NHI Bahamas is being rolled out in phases. Bahamians began registering for the National Health Insurance program in January 2016. Enrollment for NHI Bahamas began in 2017 and is ongoing. Beginning in May 2017, Bahamians began receiving primary care services under NHI Bahamas. Most recently, in October 2018, the NHI Authority has a consultation paper on the new way forward for NHI which will pave the way for expanded benefits coverage for the future.

Persons who are currently enrolled in the programme are receiving Primary Care services at no cost at point of care. The full list of benefits can be viewed here.

How do I enroll? It is simple and easy to enroll in NHI Bahamas online. The only thing you need is your NIB Smart Card.

If you have your Smart Card, you can enroll in the programme online and select your primary care provider. A full list of primary care providers can be found here.

Enroll Today!
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