Shadow Minister & Minister On FutureCare Rates

April 30, 2013

Shadow Minister for Health Zane Desilva and Health Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin exchanged words following a recent survey about FutureCare, with Mr DeSilva saying “punitive increases” were put in place, while the Minister said the Government wanted to make sure “the premium was fair to all.”

The survey was conducted from January – February 2013, and indicated that 54% of FutureCare participants agreed the cost is affordable, and that 73% of customers would recommend HIP/FutureCare to others.

In April 2013 the Government announced they will combine the two FutureCare premiums [$385 and $635 per month] to create a single rate of $440 per month. This resulted in an increase for some, and a decrease for others.

Shadow Health Minister Zane Desilva said, “On the surface, the recent news that a poll shows that the majority of Bermudians on FutureCare are pleased with the level of service and cost is good news. This poll however reflects conditions, terms and standards established under the PLP before punitive increases were put into place on our most vulnerable seniors by the OBA.”

“The One Bermuda Alliance knew that they intended to raise the cost of FutureCare on the seniors who could least afford it, yet they conducted this poll before this was revealed,” continued Mr DeSilva.

“It is disingenuous at best and intellectually dishonest at worst to trumpet these results as an OBA achievement when a poll taken after this heartless increase on our most vulnerable seniors was implemented would paint a very different picture,” said Mr DeSilva.

Health Minister Patricia Gordon Pamplin said it was “fully acknowledged that the survey, which was commissioned by the department, and not by the government, revealed a state of affairs before the implementation of the new premium.”

“The OBA government needed to start from a balanced and fair playing field to first ensure that the premium was fair to all – a concept lost on the Shadow Minister,” continued the Minister who also said the criticism was “incredulous” due to the “serious debt left behind by the PLP government.”

Minister Gordon Pamplin also said, “I think that the $14M that the Minister charged the people of Bermuda to do some landscaping at Port Royal golf course would have gone a long way to ensure that money was available for further benefits to our seniors, but it appears that his priority was not with our seniors.”

Mr DeSilva’s full statement follows below:

On the surface, the recent news that a poll shows that the majority of Bermudians on FutureCare are pleased with the level of service and cost is good news. This poll however reflects conditions, terms and standards established under the PLP before punitive increases were put into place on our most vulnerable seniors by the OBA.

The One Bermuda Alliance knew that they intended to raise the cost of FutureCare on the seniors who could least afford it, yet they conducted this poll before this was revealed. It is disingenuous at best and intellectually dishonest at worst to trumpet these results as an OBA achievement when a poll taken after this heartless increase on our most vulnerable seniors was implemented would paint a very different picture.

It is very disturbing to learn that 16.6% of doctors have requested full, upfront payments from our seniors for medical treatment. On our watch the PLP took action to eliminate this hurtful practice, protecting our people during this dire economic crisis. It is troubling that the OBA appears to not only have allowed the law to be broken, but is condoning it.

The OBA has to date also refused to answer questions about whether they support increasing FutureCare policy holder’s prescription benefits for needy seniors. This is a critical issue as many continue to be deprived of needed medication because of the high costs. This creates increased medical costs, anxiety and health issues for people who after building this country, deserve better. This must be addressed, but the OBA won’t even acknowledge the problem.

In just a few months, the OBA has revealed itself to be focused on photo ops, taking credit for PLP accomplishments and rewarding those who need it least, at the expense of those who are suffering the most.

A clear pattern of being unwilling or unable to answer questions is forming which doesn’t bode well for neither the Cannonier administration, nor the people of Bermuda. This is not the type of change most Bermudians expected.

Minister Gordon-Pamplin’s full statement follows below:

The HID caused a survey to be conducted prior to premium revision. It is important for the people who have to deliver a service to know how their efforts and interaction with the public are being perceived. It was very clearly stated that the survey was conducted in January and February, and anyone with an ounce of basic understanding will know that the new premium will not be inforce until May 1, hence it is fully acknowledged that the survey, which was commissioned by the department, and not by the government, revealed a state of affairs before the implementation of the new premium.

I will request that the department conduct a survey after the new premium implementation, and we will have a basis to compare the results.

If the Shadow Minister accepts that the results of the survey reveal a state that the PLP government left behind, then surely he would also accept that the situation respecting the up-front payments to physicians is also the state that the PLP government left behind.

The OBA government set out to rectify a serious injustice foisted upon the Bermudian people by the PLP government in not only charging seniors twice as much premium depending on when they signed up for the FutureCare product, but in failing to acknowledge that there was no attempt to ensure that all struggling seniors were considered. There was no regard for new enrolees as to whether they could afford the $600 premium charged.

With respect to additional prescription allowance, I am more than certain that seniors did not reach their limit of such allowance from December 17 till March 31. The Minister must have known that there was a challenge with limitations of prescription allowances, yet he and the PLP government did nothing to alleviate the hardship.

The OBA government needed to start from a balanced and fair playing field to first ensure that the premium was fair to all – a concept lost on the shadow minister. We can then look at the provision of benefits and given the serious debt left behind by the PLP government and the lack of funding to sustain even basic programmes, it is more than incredulous that the former Minister has the temerity to criticize the OBA government for his serious shortcomings.

I think that the $14M that the Minister charged the people of Bermuda to do some landscaping at Port Royal golf course would have gone a long way to ensure that money was available for further benefits to our seniors, but it appears that his priority was not with our seniors.

With the attempt to hide the ineptitude of the former government, it is not at all surprising that the Shadow Minister would try to undermine the efforts of the OBA government.”

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Comments (18)

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  1. LOL(original TM*) says:

    Zane got served on this one. His argument doesn't even make sense.

    LOL

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  2. Incognito says:

    I think that the $14M that the Minister charged the people of Bermuda to do some landscaping at Port Royal golf course would have gone a long way to ensure that money was available for further benefits to our seniors, but it appears that his priority was not with our seniors

    Burn

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  3. Zombie Apocalypse says:

    Having read both statements, she obviously kicked his as$.

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  4. Navin Johnson says:

    Back in your hole Zane....probably hear from you in a few months ...now likely that Walter Roban or some other PLP spokesperson will come out.....now being exposed for the pathetic bunch of losers they really are but have to try to appeal to the shrinking base of support......

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  5. Verbal Kint says:

    I can't believe she went there, but I'm happy she did. Wow!

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  6. Verbal Kint says:

    Note to Zane DeSilva: Glass house, stones, bad combination.

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  7. Sandgrownan says:

    I think that the $14M that the Minister charged the people of Bermuda to do some landscaping at Port Royal golf course would have gone a long way to ensure that money was available for further benefits to our seniors, but it appears that his priority was not with our seniors.

    Oh snap!

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  8. LaVerne Furbert says:

    If, as Minister Pamplin Gordon has stated, that "the HID caused a survey to be conducted prior to premium revision" and not the Government, why didn't someone for the HID make the survey findings public rather than the Junior Minister?

    Further, Minister Pamplin Gordon is really doing herself a disservice by stating "I think that the $14M that the Minister charged the people of Bermuda to do some landscaping at Port Royal golf course would have gone a long way to ensure that money was available for further benefits to our seniors, but it appears that his priority was not with our seniors".

    The Minister has forgotten that there is enough dirt to throw around in this community and she is not immune. She also knows that Island Construction did not just "do some landscaping at Port Royal golf course". Shame on you Minister Gordon Pamplin.

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    • say it like it is. says:

      Who cares what Zaney Boy did at Port Royal, we all know he is a big rip, just like he ripped all those seniors on Future Care for the $600 monthly payment. Tell us Zaney Boy just how does that work? Two different groups signing up at two different times, getting two different prices???? HUH??? When you join an insurance company when first employed, do you pay a different amount? I don;t think so...BIG RIP OFF DeSilva, should be his name.

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    • LOL(original TM*) says:

      Inquiring minds want to know how much you were paying for future care the lower rate or the higher rate? eh?

      LOL

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    • blankman says:

      LaVerne, are you saying that the Minister shouldn't muddy the water with "facts"?

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  9. SoMuchMore says:

    Pow! LOL

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  10. boston baked bean says:

    OH, give it a rest LaVerne. Minister Gordon Pamplin simply leveled the playing field after Zane mucked it up. Like someone already stated, she kicked his a$$.

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  11. Elizabeth Von Trumparani says:

    About the least sense Zane has ever made - and that's sayin sumpin. LV talking complete rubbish too - but that's normal.

    It is so clear to anyone with half a brain - that the PLP screwed this up and it has now been corrected so we all pay the same. To try and say other wise like Zane and LV are doing - is utter stupidity.

    You should be embarrassed.

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  12. Senlaw says:

    In the true spirit of disingenuousness, the FORMER Health Minister conveniently forgot to mention that when his government introduced the legislation to prohibit upfront payments, there was a clause allowing health care providers to opt out (Section 15 (2))...so it's hardly surprising that 16.6% are still actually taking advantage of that option....

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  13. Senlaw says:

    Regarding whether or not the HID should have conducted their survey, would the FORMER Minister have preferred that the current government interfere in the operations of the HID, and prevent them from conducting a survey for a 3rd straight year?

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  14. Golfer says:

    Someone needs to look into wwho got the 14 mil the minister is wrong there and trying to win points. Shame

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