Categorized | Featured, National News

NHI Tax Revealed


More taxes potentially on the way for Bahamians, as the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), yesterday released a policy paper that outlined how the health scheme will be funded. 

National Health Insurance’s (NHI) employer mandate will require businesses and employees to share the cost of the standard health benefit (SHB) premium, that is, with some exemptions.

It is estimated that employees will pay two percent of their salary to a maximum of $42 per month, with the employer paying the remainder of the premium.

The plan is to have this phased in starting January 2021 for businesses with over 100 employees, then eventually be expanded to include all employers over the coming years.

Employers will also be responsible for providing the SHB to full time and part time employees working over 15 hours per week.

When asked at Tuesday’s weekly press briefing if the government is comfortable that taking two percent will be easily accepted by Bahamians, Press Secretary, Anthony Newbold said only time will tell.

“We don’t know what will happen yet, once those recommendations are made the government will have to again, after wide consultation.

“I will say this, people had a serious problem with national insurance when it was introduced as well,” he said.

“They’re quite happy that national insurance is there now,” he added.

“But whatever is being proposed, whatever that percentage is, whatever that percentage ends up being, it will be discussed widely before the government decides on a definitive positon.”

For his party’s part, Opposition Leader, Philip Davis said it was always envisioned that as the programme evolved, there may have had to be an assessment as to whether it had to be contributory.

“That was not an immediate item on the agenda of the Progressive Liberal Party in our roll out of the program,” he said.

“So for me to respond to that, I need to see what are they rolling out, what components of national health insurance are they embracing in their plan to determine whether or not what they’re doing would be a prudent step to delivering universal health care to all Bahamians.”

The NHIA has released the policy paper for public consultation.

This in an effort to better suit the needs of Bahamians and stakeholders.

The paper entitled: National Health Insurance: A Shared Responsibility, outlined the proposed policy framework for advancing the NHI programme.

Under the new proposal, NHI promises to be affordable, realistic and sustainable, with a goal to act as a catalyst for change in the way Bahamians experience health care.

It is  proposed  that primary care services be expanded   – for instance, comprehensive cancer screenings for the most common cancers in The Bahamas.

Chairman of  NHI, Dr. Robin Roberts said, “ a high cost care program would also be implemented to include comprehensive coverage for select conditions or treatments, which have a high prevalence in the country – along with several other components.

“Under the new model, the NHIA will act as the public payer focused on helping those who do not fall under the employer mandate, including children, retirees, non-working spouses and unemployed persons.

“As a physician and a citizen of the Bahamas, I know there are barriers that can prevent persons from accessing essential health care services – the consequences of which can be devastating,” said  Dr.  Roberts. 

“For too long, many of our citizens have had to rely on cookouts to help fund expensive treatments, or forego receiving treatment altogether when they have fallen ill because they couldn’t afford it.

“We are aiming to end that trend over time,” he added. 

“It is vitally important that stakeholders in our community have the opportunity to provide their feedback on the proposed direction of NHI Bahamas, and we welcome meaningful engagement on the new way forward to improving care for our citizens,” he said.

The policy is posted on the NHI Bahamas website,, for stakeholders and the public to review.

There’s a timeline of 45 days to submit responses through the online consultation survey.

The NHIA will also schedule individual meetings with stakeholder groups and host town hall meetings in New Providence, Grand Bahama and the family islands during the consultation period.

Based on the feedback collected during the consultation period, the NHIA will then present recommendations to the government on the way forward.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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