Categorized | National News

Gibson Clarifies Gov’t Insurance

Minister of Labour and National Insurance Shane Gibson expressed yesterday that there will be no reductions in the insurance benefits of members in the uniformed branches, as the government has allocated $25 million in its budget for their insurance, which is $8 million lower than last year.

Gibson made this statement following the circulation of rumours, which claimed that once National Health Insurance is implemented, the government intends to reduce the benefits of the uniformed braches.

“This rumour is absolutely untrue,” Gibson said. “The Government of The Bahamas will not, now or in the future, reduce the level of benefits to any person or group of persons currently covered in insurances paid for by the government.”

He explained that this year the budget estimate of $25 million is $8 million lower than the previous budget because last year there was a surplus of approximately $8 million.

Gibson pointed out that Colina only administers insurances for the government because the government provides self insurance for public servants such as Members of Parliament, senior officers, uniform branches, doctors, nurses and teachers among others.

“Whenever there is a shortfall, the government must pay,” Gibson said.

“Should there be occurrences of a surplus, and there have been several, these are credited back to the government. The premiums for these existing insurances are allocated in the budget in each fiscal year and are based on claims experiences.”

The national insurance minister promises to meet with each of the uniformed groups to discuss their concerns and allay any fears.

On Monday, the Ministry of Finance also clarified that there will be no reductions in existing health insurance benefits for any public servant, including law enforcement officers and nurses.

In a statement, officials at the Ministry of Finance said, “Existing plans are fully funded by the government and only managed by private administrators.”

“The Ministry of Finance however, expects savings from reduced administrative costs and from existing surpluses that some plans have accumulated,” the statement read.

The statement also explained that benefits will also shift in a phased fashion to NHI, and with such, there may be changes to premiums paid by the government on the selective coverage that exists now.

As adjustments occur, the government promises to consult fully with representatives of the various public sector unions.

The government is committed to providing quality health insurance for all public servants.

As Gibson noted, the Progressive Liberal Party in its “Charter for Governance” promised NHI to ensure that all Bahamians have access to adequate healthcare, regardless of their social, economic or political status.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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