NHIA announces policy changes to NHI program following conclusion of consultation period
Nassau, The Bahamas – January 30th, 2019 – Dr. Robin Roberts, Chairman of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Board, announced that the National Health Insurance (NHI) program will be undergoing policy changes based on the feedback collected from the stakeholder consultations.
On January 30th, 2019, the NHIA formally concluded its consultation period, which discussed the proposed changes to the NHI program, as outlined in the policy paper, National Health Insurance: A Shared Responsibility.
The NHIA held 14 town hall meetings to date, throughout New Providence and the Family Islands. Members of the NHIA team met with over 500 participants along with 80 plus stakeholders who were individually met.
The public and business owners were welcomed to learn about the way forward for NHI Bahamas and provide feedback on the new proposal. Persons were also able to review the policy paper online and submit feedback through an online consultation survey. 33 online feedback forms were submitted during the consultation period.
“We are very excited about the newly proposed policy changes to be presented to Cabinet. We had very good feedback from the public and the business community during our town hall meetings. We found unanimous support for moving towards universal healthcare in the Bahamas and received significant amounts of helpful and thoughtful feedback. As a result, we have suggested changes to NHI which will improve and strengthen the program while reducing the financial burden on both individuals and business”, said Dr. Robin Roberts, Chairman of the NHIA Board.
The new proposed policy changes will include a reduction in the contribution rate. More specifically, employers will be able to collect 1.5 % of monthly income, lowered from 2% up to the standard premium rate with employers paying the balance. This will be combined with a removal of the 50% cap for contribution by employees towards there premium cost, which will see higher paid employees to contribute more and reduce the burden on businesses. The standard premium rate has not changed and is expected to be $1,000 per person per year.
In addition, we propose a reduction in the number of small businesses required to purchase health insurance on behalf of their employees by increasing the revenue threshold from $100,000 to a higher amount $250,000. These policy changes overall mean that we have reduced the burden on both individuals and businesses.
The new direction proposes to expand on the benefits package by increasing the standard health benefits to include pediatric cancers, a recognized concern among the stakeholders. At the suggestion of many businesses we have suggested changes which focus on the ease of doing business by reducing the administrative burden and making the system simpler for employers, employees and the insurance industry.
The updated policy paper, which takes account of the feedback received during the consultation period will be submitted to Cabinet for consideration and approval.
More details about the policy changes can be found in the Backgrounder which is available online.
Stakeholders and members of the public can also review the policy changes by visiting www.nhibahamas.gov.bs
For more information on NHI Bahamas, visit www.nhibahamas.gov.bs.
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