Video: Minister Kim Wilson Press Conference

August 8, 2019 | 26 Comments

[Updated] Minister of Health Kim Wilson is holding a press conference this morning [Aug 8] to provide an update on the status health reform plans. We will have additional coverage later on and in the meantime the live video is below.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the 27-minute replay is below

Update 1.21pm: Minister Wilson said, “The cost of healthcare is causing real hardship to many families.

“We have all heard the stories….

“The story of the families who have been driven into debt because their insurance coverage ran out or because they were uninsured to begin with.

“The story of the Unemployed Bermudians unable to afford health insurance relying on hope and prayers that they do not get sick until they find a new job that will provide then with health coverage.

“The story of the seniors who had to choose between medication and food.

“The story of the young mother who had to choose between paying for child care or insurance.

“The story of the parent who has denied their own medical needs in order to ensure that their children’s health needs are covered.

“The story of the neighbour, colleague or school friend who came down with an unexpected illness, was left with mounting medical bills, forced to fund their healthcare with bake sales, community fund raisers and GO Fund Me pages.

“The story of the health care professional who was forced to try and figure out how to provide help to patients who cannot afford the test, medicine or other treatments they need.

“Today, our healthcare system is too expensive and Bermudian families are struggling to survive

“We were elected to change that.

Minister Kim Wilson Bermuda August 8 2019

“Today, we begin the next step on our journey as a people towards a new healthcare system that will help Bermuda become healthier and reduce the cost of healthcare, thereby making it more affordable and accessable for all.

“I believe that as a society we will be measured by the way we treat our weakest members.

“Inequitable access to healthcare should not exist in such a wealthy society like ours.

“Access to quality and affordable healthcare is a Universal Human Right.

“Unfortunately, inequitable access is what we have….that inequity impacts us all negatively and we are all paying for it dearly.

“We all pay for care that comes too late when it is most expensive. And we pay in societal costs when a family is left without a breadwinner who succumbs to a treatable illness that was detected too late because they lacked insurance.

“We pay for years of productive lives lost due to unmanaged chronic diseases that lead to amputation, permanent disability or daily reliance on complex, costly technologies like dialysis.

“We pay in unnecessary pain and suffering for children who lose parents.

“So today, as we begin to break down inequity and create a fairer, better, more affordable healthcare system , there are some key take a ways that I feel must be emphasised:

  • Government wants to make sure that everyone can be healthier;
  • The country needs more prevention and access to healthcare for all;
  • We want to make sure that the basic health insurance plan includes the essentials to keep Bermudians healthy and catch treatable illness early,
  • We have to make sure that this new basic essential health plan is affordable to all and available to all.

“Therefore, today I am announcing the Government’s decision to fundamentally reform the basic health insurance plan, and to provide it through a unified system where all residents will be a part of the basic Bermuda Health Plan.

“Most importantly, a new essential benefits package will be designed to help make us healthier and result in real savings to Bermudians by placing caps on co-payments while ensuring healthcare businesses can be financially stable.

“The Government is committed to reforming healthcare to make it more affordable, expand access and improve health outcomes.

“This is a journey. No single step is going to get us everything at once, but changing the way we pay for healthcare is fundamental to making sure everyone can access it.

“We believe every Bermudian should have better access to services like regular doctor’s visits, primary care and essential medication.

“Therefore, it is clear that Bermuda’s basic health insurance plan needs to include more than what is currently covered by the Standard Health Benefit [SHB] which does not include doctors’ visits, prescription drugs, overseas care, dental or vision care.

“The Bermuda Health Plan 2020 is how we will provide better coverage.

“This journey is one that we believe you must be able to participate in, share your views and let your voice be heard. We want the input of the community, doctors, nurses, employers, insurers, the business sector – everyone – to decide what the Bermuda Health Plan should include.

“We have put together a draft package to open public dialogue and consultation on what the Bermuda Health Plan should look like. Your ideas, suggestions and contribution will help us to shape to expand basic health coverage to give you more than what you are getting today, for less cost overall.

“The new plan we have drafted for public consultation includes access to doctors and specialists, home care services and basic coverage for medicines, dental, vision and overseas care.

“Coverage for screening, early intervention and proper management of chronic diseases can prevent conditions like asthma or diabetes from worsening and becoming debilitating and expensive.

“We estimate that the Bermuda Health Plan could be provided for $514 dollars a month for adults and $178 for children. This would be $257 each, when shared between employer and employee. It would replace SHB and therefore includes everything already in SHB as well. Most importantly, this ‘mock’ basic plan is designed to help make us healthier and will result in real savings to individuals because it proposes caps on co-payments while ensuring healthcare businesses can be financially stable.

“I am very excited about the national dialogue we are about to embark on to improve the basic insurance plan and create the Bermuda Health Plan 2020.

“In addition, the Government consulted previously on how our country should organize the financing of healthcare and two options were considered in depth. I am grateful to the Health Financing Reform Stakeholder Consultation Group who provided the perspectives of a full range of community stakeholders to inform the Government’s decision on how Bermuda should finance healthcare.

“We have determined that the Bermuda Health Plan should be provided by a unified system as this is best suited to achieve efficiencies, economies of scale and cost savings, given Bermuda’s small size. A unified system means that all residents will be in the same basic insurance pool, sharing health costs throughout all of Bermuda’s residents.

“Of course, the Bermuda Health Plan will not be everything to everyone. And we welcome the important role private insurers play in providing supplemental benefits above and beyond what a basic package will offer. However, this government’s intent is that the Bermuda Health Plan should aim to cover essential services we need.

“I want to remind us also that this is all about containing health costs as well. Making us healthier as a community and as individuals is a necessary part of containing health costs but there are other drivers that we have to tackle as well.

“In discussing how to get Bermuda to a unified system providing a Bermuda Health Plan, we will have to tackle other difficult issues that drive health costs: fee levels, copays and utilization.

“With good lifestyle choices, proper treatment and investment in ourselves, we can all age healthier. We can have better quality of life and prevent our health costs from continuing to escalate.

“We are addressing the goal of making Bermuda healthier from a lot of different angles. We are making healthier environments through initiatives like the sugar tax. We are educating students on nutrition and healthy living through the Healthy Schools Programme. We’re promoting screenings and vaccinations as the most fundamental preventive measures. We want everyone to have affordable access to essential services through a Bermuda Health Plan. And we’re inviting every sector of the public to be part of this transformation to make Bermuda healthier.

“So if today is another step forward, what happens next?

“Dialogue. Consultation. And building consensus on how to get us to achieve affordable healthcare for all.

“Over the coming weeks we will be releasing consultation documents on the Bermuda Health Plan 2020, and starting a four month period of consultation on what Bermuda’s basic health insurance plan should include and cost. Is $514 affordable? Should dental be included? What level of overseas care? How should co-pays be capped? We have a lot to decide together.

“How should our current fragmented and expensive health financing system be transitioned into a more efficient health financing system? How should a unified system work in Bermuda? Who should administer the plan, the government or the private sector? How will the plan interact with existing private insurers? Who should benefit from subsidized premiums?

“Again, there is a great deal of discussion to be had in order to develop, together, a roadmap to healthcare for all.

“Over the next few months I look forward to working with stakeholders, including our global insurance sector, who have offered their assistance to ensure that Bermuda’s system of health insurance is the best in the world. We are the world’s risk capital, and with their assistance and expertise I am confident that following this period of consultation we will emerge with a clear vision of the future of Bermuda’s health care system.

“This is transformative change. And we intend to do it openly through consultation and dialogue.

“Before I close, I must caution Bermudians. There will be members of our community who will be content with the status quo, not wishing to advance the reform measures I have just spoken about, and who think that the fundamentals of our healthcare system in place for the last 50 years should continue. This government does not agree.

“In July 2017, this Government received an overwhelming mandate for change, and based on the stories this Government is hearing from the community we know that Bermudians are not satisfied with a status quo that is hurting so many of our people.

“Ultimately, this is about our health. About your newborn baby’s health. About your grandmother’s health. It’s about the well-being of every young person and parent in the country. And about our need to look after each other. Because in my Bermuda, we are all each other’s keeper. Imagine with me a Bermuda that provides access to healthcare at a price that is affordable within a system which is sustainable. Together I am certain that we will achieve more affordable health care for all of Bermuda and her people. I look forward to writing these next chapters with you. This is the healthcare we all deserve. Thank you.”

The Bermuda Health Plan 2020 follows below [PDF here]:

BHP Comparison of Plans Summary Bermuda August 2019

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Comments (26)

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  1. Politricks says:

    The last action of the Minister’s healthcare reforms resulted in my monthly premium jumping almost 15%!

    • Done says:

      Well you got this part right “based on the stories this Government is hearing from the community we know that Bermudians are not satisfied with a status quo that is hurting so many of our people.”

      The problem is it’s the PLP who are hurting the people!!! Dumb just dumb!

  2. truthertz says:

    This initiative will only increase the costs of the people who pay into the system. The middle class will take another financial hit. Well done.

  3. Just Wondering says:

    When is the Country going to improve how the regulation of Providers and the fees they charge. That is a root cause that should be better regulated. No reason I go to US to get the same eye exam and pay $220 and in Bermuda I get charged various rates depending on how I go to which is no less than $500 anywhere.

    Same with food etc. You want to make things better but what do you do to regulate the stores who can charge whatever the hell they want.

    No all of us are dumb talk to me when you get to the root cause.

  4. Triangle Drifter says:

    This is insane! Explain how insurance for two retirees has gone up by over $900 per month. Is there any wonder why people are leaving?

    • truthertz says:

      My parent is leaving next month due to insufficient pension to cover the healthcare increases brought about by the PLP’s 2019 budget moves. They and their supporters brag about a paltry pension rise of 1%/2% as being heroic, but say nothing about their decisions which increased healthcare alone by just under 20%!!!

      • Mark says:

        Part of their cunning plan to drive people out and make it easier to divide whats left between the cronies.

        • Triangle Drifter says:

          What they don’t see is that these people are cashing in their assets & taking the proceeds out of Bermuda. Something they are entitled to do. Further their Government pension goes with them. Let’s not begin to calculate the living expenses no longer injected into the economy. 25-11. This is what you voted for.

    • Done says:

      Simple just refuse to pay into this and get your own coverage!

      The more we refuse the more they lose! Let’s keep the insurance companies and jobs going and put the Government and their titty milk drinkers into bankruptcy!

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        Something worth looking into. We can buy everything else overseas. Why not health insurance? The best health care in the world is a short plane ride away. Paying almost $3500 a month for 2 is theft.

  5. Jobs and family security are on the line (THINK) says:

    All of what you are trying to do is good, but are you thinking of the ones whose jobs will be on the line as you take more and more from the insurance companies we Bermudians work for, they will need less and less of us. Will you be there to provide us all with a job so that we can as single parents, etc. continue to put a roof over our families/children’s heads and food on the table?

  6. aceboy says:

    There will be members of our community who will be content with the status quo, not wishing to advance the reform measures I have just spoken about, and who think that the fundamentals of our healthcare system in place for the last 50 years should continue. This government does not agree.

    Translation: The wealthy will pay, somehow. We haven’t figured out quite how yet but we will.

    The wealthy will be leaving this island in droves.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      And further translation ..

      “This journey is one that we believe you must be able to participate in, share your views and let your voice be heard. We want the input of the community, doctors, nurses, employers, insurers, the business sector – everyone – to decide what the Bermuda Health Plan should include.”

      Means in reality ‘We will do exactly as we want and say that it was the result of widespread consultation’ , as we’re all getting used to that lie.

  7. Question says:

    How does it compare to GEHI and will it replace it?

  8. comfortably numb says:

    How about regulating the doctors’ fees? I go for an annual inspection which takes less than 10 minutes and end up paying $85 on top of whatever the insurance company pays. If a GP in Bermuda isn’t a millionaire then they must be doing something wrong.

  9. watching says:

    While there are definite aspects of our healthcare system and costing that need attention, and I believe the government is well intentioned, I think they need to ensure all stakeholders are involved in this process or things will go awry.

  10. question says:

    Another PLP method of increasing costs and decreasing services.

  11. John says:

    Well I see the Government is trying to improve my Health Care?
    The SHB does not include Cancer of the Bladder or the/cystoscopy or the fees for my Urologist (after 3 visits). I hope the new system will upgrade KEMH bookkeeping system (It is out of the world at this time)

  12. Outpatient says:

    I get sick, can care for myself, but , I need a Doctor’s note to excuse me from work. 10 years ago-$35. Now approaching $80! Outrageous co-pay. That is another bag of groceries off my table for my children for a lousy piece of paper.
    Sugar Tax. A hoax. Simple plan- get your medical assessment done every year or two. Doctor gives you a clean bill of health. Your Sugar levels are normal in your blood. You get an exemption Card to use at the stores for NO sugar Tax for the time period on the card until the card is reissued. Cashier deducts the percentage off your bill.No card? No discount! Customs stops charging at the dock for beverages coming in, and select sweet items. Let those who do not watch their sugar intake pay the Tax that should directly go to healthcare/Healthcare education. Just like, you speed- you pay the fine.
    There is too much debacle in this system. It is killing people. Too much stress with healthcare on this Island!
    I really hope the Minister is paying attention.

  13. Paul says:

    The amount of Bermudians leaving this Island,has never happened before..and the young educated Bermudians, are also fed up with what is going on here..they are fed up with the race card always being played…Bermuda wake up…. blacks and white young people do not care about colour anymore….they are our future, we need to get rid of ministers that always play the race card, and we all know who they are.

  14. Joe Bloggs says:

    “I believe that as a society we will be measured by the way we treat our weakest members.“

    I agree. And you will be remembered as the Government that went to court to enshrine in law the right to discriminate against gays.

  15. Joe Bloggs says:

    “Access to quality and affordable healthcare is a Universal Human Right.”

    No, it is not. Just ask the majority of people in Central America, South America, Africa or Asia.

    “real savings to Bermudians by placing caps on co-payments while ensuring healthcare businesses can be financially stable”

    Ok, so the Government is going to limit what a doctor can charge for his or her service and also make sure that their practices are financially stable. First, on what basis does the Government believe that doctors will remain in Bermuda once their ability to earn a living has been curtailed and what is meant by “healthcare businesses can be financially stable”. Is Government going to make up the difference between whatever cap is put on doctors’ earning power and the million dollars or so each year they make now?

    “We estimate that the Bermuda Health Plan could be provided for $514 dollars a month for adults and $178 for children.”

    Government estimates it can provide health care for less money than Colonial or Argus or BF&M? Really? Government knows better than insurance professionals?

    “Over the coming weeks we will be releasing consultation documents on the Bermuda Health Plan 2020, and starting a four month period of consultation on what Bermuda’s basic health insurance plan should include and cost. Is $514 affordable? Should dental be included? What level of overseas care? How should co-pays be capped? We have a lot to decide together.”

    Yes, we do have a lot to decide together. Unfortunately, no government in the last 20 years has wanted to listen to my views, so why should I believe you this time?

  16. Triangle Drifter says:

    What makes anyone think that Government can run healthcare more efficiently than the private sector. Not that the insurance companies can’t do a whole lot better. How is that bus schedule coming along? How is education doing? How about the latest fiasco at the post office? Seen any improvement in the taxi industry lately through enforcement of existing regulations? Just for starters.

  17. Onion Fist says:

    Never heard so much hogwash from one minister!! Who pays for the thousands getting a free ride on insurance?

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