Minister: Health Miscellaneous Amendment Act

May 13, 2017

The Health [Miscellaneous] Amendment Act 2017 brings a number of amendments related to health insurance, standard health coverage and fees, Minister of Health and Seniors Jeanne Atherden said in the House of Assembly on Friday [May 12]

The Minister said, “It is with pleasure that I bring to this Honourable House today, the Health [Miscellaneous] Amendment Act 2017. And it brings me genuine pleasure because, for the first time I’m aware of, we are reducing the standard premium rate and the HIP and FutureCare premiums.

“A reduction of $4.07 per month to apply across the board to these plans. We hope this will assist some persons to maintain coverage and will encourage the public to see the effects of the broad measures we have been taking to reduce healthcare costs.

“This Honourable House will be aware that we have been making every effort to reduce healthcare costs and, at last, are starting to see greenshoots.

“The most important indicator telling us we’re on the right track is the National Health Accounts report. This report monitors annual total health spending and the latest report shows that in 2011 health spending began to level off, and in 2015 total health spending actually went down by 1.1% for the first time on record. We finally bent the cost-curve – and we’re the first country to do so, compared to the OECD.

“This shows that we are moving in the right direction, but we’re the first to recognize that at $11,102 per capita health expenditure, we are still spending too much and have some way to go to achieve sustainability.

“Nevertheless, it is a pleasure to be able to see the 1% reduction in total spending reflected in a similar reduction in the premiums for the standard health benefit and the Government’s low-cost plans. We hope to see this reflected in private plans also.

“In addition to reducing premiums, this Bill brings a number of amendments related to health insurance, standard health coverage and fees, which have presented as necessary over the past year. Rather than pursuing piecemeal amendments, they have been consolidated into a single Bill.

“Therefore, the Health [Miscellaneous] Amendment Bill amends 14 statutes to achieve the following:

  • a] Adjust the Standard Premium Rate [SPR], the Mutual Reinsurance Fund [MRF], HIP and FutureCare premiums;
  • b] Adjust benefits and move dialysis and kidney transplants to the MRF;
  • c] Remove the 10-month maternity cover exclusion;
  • d] Limit subsidy payments to the amount appropriated by the Legislature;
  • e] Have Standard Health Benefit [SHB] fees recommended by the Bermuda Health Council;
  • f] Reduce termination for non-payment of HIP and FutureCare from 3 months to 60 days; and
  • g] Revoke open enrolment periods for HIP.

The Ministerial brief follows below [PDF here]

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