By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
The Government plans to roll-out National Health Insurance (NHI) catastrophic care plans costing "as little as $1,000 per year" within the next three to four weeks, it was revealed yesterday.
Dr Duane Sands, minister of health and national insurance, said the Minnis administration plans to roll-out a "significant adjustment" to the scheme once it gets Cabinet approval.
He made the disclosure at the Exuma Business Outlook conference, saying: "NHI provides primary care services to just over 40,000 Bahamians. We expect in the next three to four weeks to roll out a significant adjustment to the National Health Insurance plan to include coverage for catastrophic ailments.
"Once we have gotten Cabinet's approval, it is anticipated that we should be able to provide major medical plans for as little as $1,000 per year. That amount will be borne by the Government of The Bahamas, the employer and the employee, with contributions on a monthly basis by the employee of less than $20 or no more than two per cent of a person's salary and no more."
Dr Sands said The Bahamas spends almost $900m on healthcare annually. Some $306m of this comes from the Government's Consolidated Fund, with $80m spent on health insurance for MPs, teachers, police officers and other public servants.
"Bahamians pay more for health than most people in the world. We have a lousy result in terms of our health status and perhaps we can change the model," Dr Sands suggested.