Minister Atherden: “We Try To Strike A Balance”

June 9, 2015

“We try to strike a balance between keeping the Government’s insurance plans sustainable in the long term and working with seniors or those most affected by premium increases,” Minister of Health, Seniors and Environment Jeanne Atherden said.

This follows after charity groups highlighted their concerns about the cost of healthcare, saying they are “asking for a freeze on all legislative changes to healthcare provision and coverage until there has been substantive community input.”

Those expressing concern included representatives from Age Concern Bermuda; the Interagency Committee for Children and Families, the Centre on Philanthropy, and the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre.

33 minute video of the full press conference held by the charities over healthcare costs

“The Ministry of Health, Seniors & Environment is highly sensitive to the difficulties encountered by vulnerable populations with premium increases,” a Ministry spokesperson said.

‘For this reason, the Government subsidizes health coverage for seniors and HIP in excess of $100 million per year.

“Despite this considerable sum, it does not suffice to meet the cost of providing services for these populations and it is necessary to supplement it with premium contributions.

“This is in an effort to share the cost with the beneficiaries and curtail the impact on the consolidated fund. The premiums are set through actuarial analysis, based on the services used and the cost of paying for them.”

Minister Atherden said, “We try to strike a balance between keeping the Government’s insurance plans sustainable in the long term and working with seniors or those most affected by premium increases.

“The message from Age Concern and our other community partners is one we take very seriously. My aim will be to meet with them as they have requested and as soon as possible.

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Comments (31)

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  1. Essence says:

    Minister Atherden, tell that to a 70 year old widow who gets a demand letter from GEHI demanding the arrears of $76.32 for GEHI insurance as the pension you were receiving is not enough to cover your monthly coverage. And you don’t know how you are going to pay it each month as you are scraping now. And next year it’s going to be an extra $100??? What is a senior to do?

    • bob13 says:

      Shoulda saved more. Why is it on me to fund the poor life decisions of others, just because they are old? I’d gladly spend all of my savings today…but then I don’t want to have to ask for handouts later on in life. We either commit to being broke as a country or go full communist. And one should never go full communist…

      • agatha christie says:

        I really hope that one day when you are old and in need, no-one helps you. What a callous remark

    • That’s exactly why we have a social assistance program here in Bermuda.
      In the event anyone was to find themselves facing such predicaments then they must go to Social Assistance and seek Government help so as they may eliminate/alleviate the pressures they’re facing.

    • agatha christie says:

      And then they’ll get a bigger bill for their electricity …

    • Dude says:

      Here’s how YOU can help our 70 year old widow…. Take the stairs and eat healthier. Oh, and don’t rush to the doctor or emergency room for a hang nail. Go online, check your symptoms, call you mom but the more stupid things that you claim on health insurance – things that 20 years ago you’d NEVER go to a doctor for – is the reason health insurance has spiraled. it’s not rocket science.

  2. I and I says:

    Insurance and the banking system are the biggest frauds in the land!!

  3. Jus' Askin' says:

    Now You want to meet with us? ;-)

    OBA once had a champion for us seniors, how things have changed in such a short period of time. :-(

    • Jus Wonderin' says:

      Like the PLP was ever any better! How did free licencing and other handouts go lmfao!

  4. Huh says:

    PLP biggest fraud in Bermuda’s history. Wouldn’t be having this conversation if they hadn’t destroyed our economy.

  5. What to do now says:

    We must be the only place where you get a 500 sq ft room and minimum 3 day stay for a simple infection., including cat scan, cardiology, physiology therapy, X-ray, blood checks and more. I guess they have to keep beds full and departments busy. you have to check yourself out by signing waivers, having witnesses because the staff know even long stays and ripping off our insurance will never pay for the place.

    • Mutual Repect says:

      That’s what happens when you spend $ on atriums and wide unused open spaces. You get additional costs for no additional benefit or potential to expand

    • agatha christie says:

      Agreed, there are two issues: 1 controlling health costs and 2. getting fitter by more exercise and better diets

  6. Kim Smith says:

    And no mention of the cost/overrun/interest burden of the new hospital. What proportion of the increase is attributable to those costs?

    • agatha christie says:

      Part of the reason for raising the charges are to give the hospital an extra $13m. You might also notice that the hospital has not revealed its financials for three years …

      • oh dear says:

        Agatha/Kim. Remember too that the BHB Executive salaries have yet to be disclosed as promised by ‘you know who’!
        As regards the costs of the Acute Care Wing construction and Maintenance Contract and the 29/30 year repayment ‘plan’, it is simple math to arrive at a figure (minimum) of $840m – yes million- and that does not include the daily running expenses. The latest Health Insurance Premium and BELCO increases will put this figure further out of sight. Time for an immediate ‘freeze’.

  7. watching says:

    I expected a more sensitive and humanitarian approach from Mrs Atherden, even though we are facing economic challenges.
    But she seems to be all about the dollars and displaying little to no sensitivity to the issues facing the people.
    I hope she never has to make the choice between groceries and medicine and electricity.

    • Mutual Repect says:

      You make it sound like Bermuda has a choice. Sad truth is that since 2010, we no longer have control over our financial destiny

  8. Alvin Williams says:

    Minister Atherden and her OBA government does not get it; The people can not afford to pay and this has gone beyond attempting to get blood out of a stone.

    • serengeti says:

      Do you think all those unnecessary tests come free then Alvin?

    • Mutual Repect says:

      Alvin, What do you suggest? Borrowing more $, oh no we can’t, extending furlough days to cut costs, oh no, we can’t, cutting the civil service, oh no we can’t, increasing taxes, oh no, we can’t. Need I go on or are you one of those that will never get it, rather doesn’t want to get it?

    • Mutual Repect says:

      Alvin, What do you suggest? Borrow more $, oh no we can’t, extending furlough days to cut costs, oh no, we can’t, cutting the civil service, oh no we can’t, increasing taxes, oh no, we can’t. Need I go on or are you one of those that will never get it, rather doesn’t want to get it?

  9. Alvin Williams says:

    All these sacrifices borne upon the backs of the people; where is all that talk about so-called share sacrifice which by the way we don’t hear too much about these days ? In whose benefit are the people of Bermuda are been made to carry the burden of Bermuda’s economic recovery. These are the questions I would like to see an answer for since it is been done in the name of the people of Bermuda?

    • de fence says:

      But Alvin, you haven’t answered the question -what would you do? We really are running out of options. You don’t want the Government to cut back on anything, but we are running out of money and very soon we won’t be able to borrow any more.

  10. Common Sense says:

    The design of the new hospital is not what the Island needed with all the wasted space/atrium etc. We needed a practical place to treat patients and not a showpiece which cost far too much, and impresses no-one. Another example of the high cost of having a PLP government. Bermuda has limited resources and if money is wasted on one thing, it will mean that there is less to spend on more needed other things.

  11. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    The day will come when people will realize the power of the vote as being the absolute supreme job interview.

    • Yeah you are correct…Vote P.L.P. and see how far we get :-( The last time we voted for them we got 2.x Billion $ in debt! and most of the exempt companies left Bermuda taking with them job which where held by Bermudians as well as house rentals which depreciated land value and oh crime was rampant! So yes, the power of a vote is powerful!
      P.S. “That’s exactly why we have a social assistance program here in Bermuda.
      In the event anyone was to find themselves facing such predicaments then they must go to Social Assistance and seek Government help so as they may eliminate/alleviate the pressures they’re facing.”

  12. PANGAEA says:

    If we can not pay our B.E.L.C.o bill how do you expect us to pay taxes.

  13. Legal Eagle says:

    I don’t care ‘who’ put BDA in our mess! The OBA were elected to get us out of it-but with perspective in doing so! Many simply do not have the $$ to pay tax increased electricity-+heath insurance go without them,+ food-+ essential medicine! So they go hungry- become sick -or die!! Pls find the cost savings by cutting NON life essential costs!!! Such as:GPcars, political salaries-+conferences (+the CS also attending)to start! Also,cultural, sports etc etc grants-anything that’s NOT health+life essential!Drastically cut the Civil Service-but you won’t- because without them -it may cost YOU the next election! And of course,YOU are more important than people’s life or health! SAD,VERY SAD!!!!!