0

New Health Tax Cut After Review: Workers To Now Pay 1.5% Towards Insurance Scheme

Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands.

Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE National Health Insurance Authority has shaved down its proposed salary tax to fund universal healthcare by a half percent in its updated policy paper on the contributory scheme.

The new proposed policy removes the 50 percent cap on employee contributions, and also raises the threshold for small businesses required to participate in the scheme by $150k, according to an NHIA statement obtained by The Tribune, which announced the proposed contribution rate has been reduced to 1.5 percent of monthly income.

It also proposes to expand its standard health benefits package to include paediatric cancer. The changes will now be presented to Cabinet for review.

Fielding questions from reporters on the matter yesterday, Health Minister Dr Duane Sands said: “There has been a number of very very good suggestions. I am not minded to reveal what those suggestions have been at this point. Suffice it to say, it’ll be presented to the Cabinet of the Bahamas and then after that discussion, we’ll have an opportunity to present it to the public.”

Dr Sands added: “We are going to be open and transparent but I would rather not preempt the Cabinet of the Bahamas and its deliberations with a little snippet here, a little leak there, etc. We will be very open with the recommendations, the changes suggested, the timelines the costs, the benefits package, etc.”

The contributory scheme, initially announced by the NHIA last October, called for all working Bahamians to contribute two percent of their salary or 50 percent of the premium - whichever is lower - to purchase the scheme’s Standard Health Benefit (SHB) or minimum level of coverage.

Under the old proposal, monthly contributions for those legally in the Bahamas earning $30,000 or more were expected to be capped at $42.

The SHB package’s initial “regulated premium cost” of $1,000 per year remains unchanged.

The NHIA has scheduled a press conference concerning policy changes for Thursday, and the statement obtained by The Tribune is dated January 31.

The NHIA statement read: “The new proposed policy changes will include a reduction in the contribution rate. More specifically, employers will be able to collect 1.5 percent of monthly income, lowered from two percent up to the standard premium rate with employers paying the balance. 

“This will be combined with a removal of the 50 percent cap for contribution by employees towards their premium cost, which will see higher paid employees to contribute more and reduce the burden on businesses. The standard premium rate has not changed and is expected to be $1,000 per person per year.

“In addition,” the NHIA statement read, “we propose a reduction in the number of small businesses required to purchase health insurance on behalf of their employees by increasing the revenue threshold from $100,000 to a higher amount, $250,000. These policy changes overall mean that we have reduced the burden on both individuals and businesses.

“The new direction proposes to expand on the benefits package by increasing the standard health benefits to include paediatric cancers, a recognised concern among the stakeholders.”

The scheme’s SHB launch is slated for April to July 2019; July 2019 for a sugary drink tax and national wellness programme; a January 2020 launch of the employer mandate/two per cent deductions for businesses with 100 or more employees; and January 2021 employer mandate expansion for all employers and deadline for all grandfathered private insurance plans.

The changes reflect feedback collected during stakeholder consultations, in which there were 14 town hall meetings hosted throughout the country. 

The NHIA team reportedly met with more than 500 participants, and some 80 individual stakeholders, Dr Sands said yesterday.

There was also an online consultation survey for persons who reviewed the policy paper online to give feedback, and a total of 33 forms were submitted.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 10 months, 1 week ago

Brace yourself fellow Bahamians. New NHI tax, increased national insurance contribution tax and increased VAT all coming on July 1, 2019. Why? Because this is the only thing the Dimwitted Minnis and his merry band of bandits know how to do for us, the Bahamian people, i.e. TAX ALL OF US TO DEATH !! And to think so many hard working, honest and trusting Bahamian voters allowed themselves to get swung by the Dimwitted Minnis when he said over and over again on the campaign trail that now it would be the people's time. What a joke! LMAO

0

Sickened 10 months, 1 week ago

We're just adding more water to a leaky bucket!

0

Dawes 10 months, 1 week ago

We all know this $1,000 figure is not correct. So also brace for large increases coming in the next few years.

0

bcitizen 10 months, 1 week ago

Businesses and Workers can't take anymore! It is not just 1.5% because, businesses will have a portion to contribute as well. What do you think happens? That money does not just come out of this air. Businesses struggling to stay afloat will be trying to pass the cost onto consumers, laying off people, reducing other employee benefits, and shutting down.

2

TalRussell 10 months, 1 week ago

Yes or no - if Universal BahamaCARE is indeed at forefront Minnis's and KP's driving economic prosperity machine forward for Colony of Out Islands many comrade Citizen Out Islanders - why was there not a single mention Universal BahamaCARE by Minnis on Monday night's 44 minutes and 12 seconds, 21-miles long more of Imperial guards bunch you know what?

1

The_Oracle 10 months, 1 week ago

Used to be people were recognized for actual accomplishments, not for proposing more hole digging. They'd sink the boat and want a statue or monument! The % is irrelevant, like VAT can be increased at will. A sink hole is a sink hole......

2

birdiestrachan 10 months, 1 week ago

The Bahamian voters voted for the FNM Government. The FNM Government can and will do what ever please them and their rich donors, and there is nothing any one who does not like it can do about it, That is the way it is.

0

Sickened 10 months, 1 week ago

Unfortunately for the people that is historically how it's been. Ping and the drug lords, Ingraham and ??? (I still don't know for sure who was calling the shots) and Perry with the numbers criminals. Governments need to do what's best for the nation, not a group of people.

1

Gotoutintime 10 months, 1 week ago

Bring back the UBP!!!---We need some white boys to run this country

0

SP 10 months, 1 week ago

Hate to burst your bubble genius, but the "UBP white boys" never stopped running this country!

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 10 months, 1 week ago

You're both right as it relates to the Arawak Cay Port and just about everything shipped into our country. Also the controlling shareholders of Commonwealth Bank. But we now also have a greedy wicked group of black elitist families - the Wilsons, the Maynards, the Bastians, the Flowers, etc. - all of whom are equally content to keep the rest of us in shackles as they prey upon us daily, sucking the life blood out of our families.

0

hrysippus 10 months, 1 week ago

The National Health Insurance Scheme, /. . . . . . Is it an answered prayer or populist pipedream? . . . … It is a thousand per month for each one who works, . . . . But nothing from thousands who can only shirk, . . . . .. Now ten million dollars a month may seem like a lot, . . .. … But not when you see how much sickness we got, . . . … And doctors are greedy, want three hundred per hour, . . . .. And the admin staff need their own ivory tower, . . . . … We are one of the most obese nations on Earth, . . . . . . Illegitimacy at seventy percent of our birth. . . . … .. Hypertension is rampant and diabetes too,
Patients needing dialysis? More than a few. .. . . … Life supporting machine is a wonderful thing, . . . …. To those ending life but to life they still cling,
So who do we save , and who we let die? . . . …….. ….. Do we spend lots of money or let relatives cry? . . . … Surely we need to save my good son, he is one of the best. .. . .. I know its not his time to go to his eternal rest. . . . . . .. But the hard truth is this; we can't save us all, . . . . .. Someone will have to decide which one goes to the wall.

0

SP 10 months, 1 week ago

Translation: Workers To Pay 1.5% "As An Introduction" Towards An Insurance Scheme Which Will Be Increased Beyond 3% At The Earliest Timeframe Possible.

Only a total moron can't see what's happening here!

1

joeblow 10 months, 1 week ago

A SCHEME is exactly what this proposal is!

0

Sign in to comment