NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) will lead a series of reforms to the National Health Insurance model to be dubbed ‘NHI 1.1’, which could save the government some $62 million over the next five years, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said on Tuesday..
During his wrap up to the 2020/2021 budget debate, Minnis, who serves as interim Minister of Health, noted that a major objective of the authority over the next five years is to transition to a cost recovery model to reduce its dependence on the Public Treasury.
According to the prime minister, NHI currently has more than 77,000 enrolled beneficiaries, with $38 million having been allocated to the scheme for the 2020/2021 fiscal year — up $18 million from its allocation in the current fiscal year.
Minnis said care is currently distributed in a very ‘fragmented manner’ with the NHIA, with the Public Hospital Authority and the Department of Public Health all involved in the healthcare distribution system.
However, he said this has led to a duplication of services, inefficiencies, a lack of sufficient service standards and excessive health care costs, among the highest in the region.
He noted that NHI is “truly a Bahamian success story” with a network of 90 physicians and eight laboratories over five islands.
“Primary care is estimated to cost the government $83.3 million each year,” Minnis noted, adding that it has the potential to increase to $128 million by 2025 if the delivery model is not significantly changed.
He pointed out that the recent introduction of an electronic health record will lead to improved outcomes, reduce the cost of care and provide enhanced safety and patient privacy.
Minnis noted that the series of reforms to be led by the NHIA which will result in $62 million in savings over the next five years will require no additional taxation of employer mandate.
“It will ensure that every Bahamian and resident has consistent access to a family doctor without a co-pay or deductible,” he added.