BIA still seeking answers on NHI 2% tax

The  Bahamas Insurance Association (BIA) continues to question the proposed two per cent tax on salaries to fund the National Health Insurance Scheme expected to go into effect next year.

Deputy Chairperson, Tina Cambridge said the potential of the program remains at a “wait and see stage” as there has been limited consultation with private insurers.

The National Health Insurance Authority, (NHIA) proposed a $1,000 a year contribution from employees, but Cambridge said while the BIA believes this figure is “too low” it is unsure of what that true figure should be.

“We cannot give a figure at this stage as we have not been provided with the figures,” Cambride said.

“There are a lot of parameters that go into costing. When we asked the technical questions to NHI they were not available. It leaves us to wonder if the negotiations actually happened or if it is now underway.”

Based on the lack of information Cambridge said it is difficult to calculate a true cost.

The BIA, she said, is proposing an approach that would require a lesser payment over a longer period of time.

“Our view is that this is a journey for the long haul,” she said. “We hope that they would look at phasing in contributions and benefits for a longer period of time.

“If government looks at .5 per cent as opposed to two per cent, adding only lab fees for example and match what the country can afford and what can be sustained by infrastructure. If we don’t take that approach I see it as being very problematic.

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