NHI Bahamas: The Facts

Statement from the Government of The Bahamas on National Health Insurance

(via the Bahamas Information Services)

“As we celebrate the start of the 2016 year we are also celebrating a big step towards a better health care system in The Bahamas.

The Government of The Bahamas remains committed to having a National Health Insurance programme in our country and has been working tirelessly to develop and execute the framework to make this vision a reality, for a Stronger Bahamas.

Last week, Cabinet approved the draft legislation that would provide the foundation for NHI. The legislation is undergoing final revisions together with stakeholders and it is expected that it will be released for public and further stakeholder consultation before the end of January.  The Government wishes to announce that the new programme, “NHI Bahamas” will make health care throughout our archipelago Modern, Affordable, and Accessible. These are the values that are at the core of all planning and policy-making decisions regarding health care for Bahamians.

With NHI Bahamas, access to quality health services will be available to all legal Bahamian residents – no matter your age, island of residence, pre-existing health conditions or income.

So what is NHI Bahamas?

NHI Bahamas is a new national health insurance programme for The Bahamas introduced by Government. It will make our health care system more modern, affordable and accessible and is a major step to building a Stronger Bahamas. The new programme ensures that all legal Bahamian residents – no matter your income, age, island of residence or current health status – can receive health care free of cost at point of service. Cost for health care is paid for in full or in part, by Government. The programme will be rolled out in phases. In the first phase of coverage (Primary Care), Bahamians will receive a number of health services such as prevention, visits to the doctor, and other basic health needs free of cost and with no new tax in the initial phase. Those with existing health insurance will not be required to give that up.

Why is NHI Bahamas important and how will it help Bahamians?

Improving the health care system will lead to a more modern and prosperous Bahamas. We must improve access and affordability of quality health care for our people. Currently, approximately 70% of Bahamians do not have health insurance, meaning they may have to pay for health services out of their own pockets, which is something many people cannot afford. Severe illness can be prevented often with a simple visit to the doctor. Modernizing our current health care system is essential to improving the health of our population.

Government continues Health System Strengthening (“HSS”) and has allocated $40 Million to upgrading facilities and systems. The HSS thrust is ongoing and includes extending clinic hours and opening more well equipped and staffed clinics throughout the country. HSS also includes plans for complete upgrade of the Princess Margaret Hospital and the Rand Memorial Hospital and opening mini hospitals in Islands such as Eleuthera and Exuma.

What’s next?

The NHI Bahamas legislation will be released for public and stakeholder comment within the next month. While this is happening, registration for NHI Bahamas will begin. The NIB has been busy preparing their systems to support registration for National Health Insurance. The registration process will begin later this month and more details will be provided in the coming days.

A NHI Bahamas website and other information sharing tools will unveiled this month to ensure Bahamians have the information they need to understand what NHI Bahamas is, the values of the new system, and how it will work.

We are a proud, strong and caring people. The historic launch of National Health Insurance Bahamas is a big step to ensuring that everyone has reasonable access to health care, assuring a bright future for all Bahamians and improving the health of our country. The Government will be providing regular updates on NHI Bahamas and what persons need to do to register.

The Government wishes all Bahamians a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.”

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