BHeC: Understanding Your Health Insurance

September 3, 2014

The Bermuda Health Council [BHeC] and Bernews have teamed up to help answer your questions about the island’s healthcare system, bringing you useful information on a regular basis.

You can visit BHeC online in order to submit your queries, with responses to be published at both Bernews and the BHeC website on the first Wednesday of every month.

MiH September.

Question: My business has six people and I had to move to HIP a few years ago because we couldn’t afford private premiums anymore.

But since then, I have paid over $80,000 and we’ve hardly used any of it – maybe $10,000 in claims. How is that of use to me? I understand how insurance works, but I don’t feel we’re getting anything out of it – and on top of that, we have co-pays.

Answer: It’s not always easy to see why paying health insurance premiums makes sense or why you may not get a return immediately on that expense, especially if your employees are healthy. However, life is unpredictable. Should an employee suddenly find themselves with cancer, for example, their extensive treatment could cost approximately $200,000.

Not only is it the law, under the Health Insurance Act 1970, that an employer provide employees and their non-employed spouses with health insurance, it is also prudent. Health insurance provides your employees a safety net for the unexpected, and may allow employees to seek preventive care such as health screenings.

To your point about the cost of premiums and co-pays, your frustration is understandable, but these are necessary features. The co-pays help keep premiums lower than they would be otherwise by sharing the cost of care, and by creating a disincentive for people to over-use some services.

But if you find your co-pays above your price range, you can shop around for a different health professional. BHeC has a free online healthcare directory which lists health professionals on the island; click here to access it.

In addition, remember that your employees are better off in a larger group than just the six of you, as the average costs are more favourable with a larger group. Also, keep in mind that HIP is a subsidized plan. It receives additional funding from Government and from all other insurers to keep the premium as low as possible.

So the $80,000 you spent can certainly feel like a lot, but compared to a potential $200,000, surely you can see that it’s a better deal. As you know, the point of insurance is to make sure you and your employees are protected from financial ruin by making small advance payments, instead of running the risk of a large unexpected one.

And finally, as individuals we all have a responsibility for the cost of our health insurance premiums because these are largely based on how much healthcare we use and how healthy we are. We must all make an effort to make prudent use of services and move towards healthier lifestyles.

With a healthier population and only necessary testing, we may be able to change the rising tide of health costs.

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Comments (3)

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  1. mj says:

    Can anyone give an example of a healthy lifestyle and also whether wholistic persons are allowed to practice and benefit from insurance..

  2. Frank says:

    The problem isn’t with health insurance itself per say but with the sky rocketing costs of health care. This is what the BHeC needs to address first and foremost! And don’t start with the’its a free market system’ argument, we all know that most if not all other industries on this Island are or will soon be regulated to ensure that monopolies, duopolies, collusion etc. is not allowed to run awry – so lets start with assessing how the health care industry needs to be better regulated to ensure that the industry is sustainable but at the same time the Island’s residents are provided with reasonable cost health care!

  3. campervan says:

    Question:- If we keep chasing people off the Island, will the remaining people living here be subjected to sky rocketing health costs?

    Answer:- Yes.