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'Govt Put $100m Cost On Nhi Without Data'

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Insurance Association Chairman Emmanuel Komolafe has questioned how the government determined it would cost $100m for the first year of primary care services under National Health Insurance, telling The Tribune the BIA has yet to provide the Christie administration with its costing data.

He said the BIA hopes to meet with government officials and consultants this week to determine if efforts towards implementing NHI are headed in the right direction, adding that the “devil is in the details”.

The insurance industry is still seeking details from the government about a proposed structure for NHI, the make up of the proposed public-private task force and a detailed road map for NHI’s implementation.

The BIA is also seeking a response from the government to comments Etoile Pinder, who works for NHI consultant Sanigest Internacional, made on Facebook several weeks ago when she labelled NHI opponents as “morons and money-grubbing asses,” a comment widely interpreted as a dig at insurance industry stakeholders.

Last week, Prime Minister Perry Christie stood by the Costa Rican firm, telling reporters the consultants were “excellent.”

As for Deputy Chief Medical Officer Delon Brennen’s statement last week that the first year of primary care services under NHI will cost around $100m, Mr Komolafe said it is unclear how the government arrived at this figure since the insurance industry has yet to provide secondary consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) with the industry’s data on costing.

“I don’t know where that figure came from,” Mr Komolafe said.

“We were told by PwC and the permanent secretary that our data would help them (determine cost).”

To help estimate the cost of NHI, the industry has been preparing data to give the consultants once all parties sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Mr Komolafe said he could not offer a timeline for when this process will be completed.

In a press statement last week, he said: “A draft non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with PwC was provided to the BIA on September 28, 2015. We responded on September 28, 2015 with proposed amendments that included confidentiality provisions, an obligation for PwC to share the resulting report with the BIA and the insurance companies that provide data and the removal of any impediments to the BIA sharing the report’s findings with the general public.

“After much debate and an initial expression of reluctance by the government to agree to the proposed amendments to the NDA, the BIA received a revised draft on November 12, 2015. Regrettably, not all of the revisions suggested by the association were included. The BIA is still not in receipt of the final NDA and is awaiting the document in order to move the matter forward. BIA members are anxious to assist with this important project and to provide the requisite data to PwC so that the proper costing of NHI can begin.”

As a guest on 96.9FM’s radio show “The Revolution” on Thursday, Mr Brennen suggested that the full vital benefits package – which would include catastrophic coverage services – won’t be implemented until the will from the public emerges to agree to the financial means of funding such a package.

This makes the timeline for the full implementation of NHI unclear and helps explain why the prime minister has stressed that it has taken some countries years to fully implement NHI.

In response to this, the FNM has said that what the government will offer next year is not really NHI because it does not provide catastrophic healthcare coverage.

The first phase of NHI is slated to begin in January and will entail registration and upgrades to public health facilities. Primary health coverage is expected to come on stream in April 2016.

Mr Komolafe yesterday declined to say if the insurance industry would be comfortable with just a simple roll out of the first two phases of NHI, saying details for the primary healthcare coverage are unknown and there is concern that the rollout of this phase will cause some Bahamians to drop their existing plans.

However, his language was reminiscent of the government’s statements on the matter rather than the FNM’s, saying that NHI must be phased in.

“Primary healthcare is important,” Mr Komolafe said. “You get annual checkups and the chance to diagnose things early. People seriously ill need catastrophic coverage now, but in terms of the overall scheme, you have to start somewhere first.”

Comments

ohdrap4 3 years, 8 months ago

mr. komolafe:

elvis has left the building, sorry to say it, i think you lost.

i have long ago dropped private insureance because i never received any claim. once, i had insurance, collected some receipts, submitted claims, all denied. now, the hr guy at my job would not pursue it and the insurer would only communicate with me through the hr guy.

so, i dont feel sorry for you.

but i suspect that these benefits will only be some blood pressure and blood sugar measure, then tell me go in peace, exercise and eat popeyes's.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 8 months ago

What kind of insurance do you have and what procedure did you have done because this sounds strange. When I visit the dentist I pay at most 20 for a visit that could cost 100. My annual which by cash would be 300 costs me zero. My medication is practically nothing.

So the first thing that sounds suspect is you're paying up front, but I guess it's possible. Second NONE(?) of the claims are approved. Sounds like you need to review the list procedures covered by your insurance

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ohdrap4 3 years, 8 months ago

well, that was a long time ago. there were many complaints similar to mine, and part of the problem was that the hr guy was a dolt, but no prob, i dropped out.

i was in a individual plan briefly after that, but paid an increased premium for a bmi issue, which could not be solved because the bmi statistics discriminate on certain body types.

women are also discriminated as they pay more than men fro any age band.

anyhow, long story short, i would never buy from a private insurer again.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 8 months ago

THANK YOU. Bahamian people are too gullible. There's one particularly dangerous self appointed "reporter" on fb who is consistently misinforming people. Following Dr Brennan's appearance, they reported that the plan would cost 100 million.

But when I listened to Dr Brennen, he clearly said "100 million BASED ON THE NUMBER WHO PARTICIPATE". So if more people participate than they estimate, the first year could cost 500 million. And I doubt anyone has proposed that cost will trend downward at any point in the first 100 years of the plan. Further we have no idea what this magical number of participating persons is, and it seems like getting that number right is key to the costing. You would think if they really wanted to find out medical participation norms, and hence costs, in the country, the first people they would engage are the insurance companies and the doctors. To the contrary, they appear to have deliberately excluded these groups. This rollout is simply incredible

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Chucky 3 years, 8 months ago

Gotta love listening to the insurance companies scream, all trying desperately to preserve their profits.......

Not to worry, this will be just another organization (government) screwing the people instead of private insurance companies. But in this system, they will spread the screwing out over the whole population, not just the ones who can afford private insurance (i.e. private screwing).

And in the end, it will still be, only those who have private high end healthcare, that actually receive high end care. The rest will still continue to live with scars that are 3 times the size of the actual wound..............how many of those have you seen????

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cmiller 3 years, 8 months ago

This whole thing will just end up being another tax taken directly from our salaries and nothing else.. They have no plan other than that.

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cmiller 3 years, 8 months ago

The only data they will need is how much you get paid so they will know how much to take from your salary, when you register, mark my words.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 8 months ago

................ now the talk is that NHI is going to cost the taxpayers 3% on their NIB payments ....... the information is beginning to trickle out ..................... it will cost us all a pretty penny

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GrassRoot 3 years, 8 months ago

seems this government cant even get an NDA done.

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