BPSU On Standard Premium Rate Increase

September 16, 2021 | 2 Comments

“The Government is faced with many challenges due to the pandemic and are forced to make some very difficult decisions as a result,” the BPSU said, adding that “this, however, does not negate the requirement for proper consultation with community stakeholders.”

Bermuda Public Services Union [BPSU] President Armell Thomas said, “On Friday, September 10, 2021, Minister of Health Kim Wilson tabled an amendment to the Health Insurance Act in the House of Assembly which will result in an increase the Standard Premium Rate.

“This announcement comes when many workers and retirees find themselves grappling with the seemingly unending economic ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“The Standard Premium Rate comprises of both the Standard Health Benefit [SHB] and the Mutual Reinsurance Fund [MRF] and, as legally mandated, forms a part of all health insurance policies. It is the funds collected by Government through the SHB and the MRF which finances the grant to BHB, subsidizes Health Insurance Plan [HIP] and FutureCare, and pays for other vital health-related initiatives.

“The Government has advised that these mandatory increases are necessary due to the harsh realities of the current market. For instance, there are fewer workers enrolled in private insurance plans due to increased unemployment levels and emigration.

“Additionally, the number of residents covered by Government’s HIP and FutureCare has increased as a both employers and residents seek more affordable health insurance alternatives. Utilization patterns have also changed which has subsequently resulted in more costly healthcare.

“The Bermuda Public Services Union [BPSU] has a responsibility to its membership to remain vigilant on matters that impact workers and the wider society. The BPSU steadfastly supports the fundamental right that all residents have access to affordable, quality healthcare. In order to do this, the BPSU recognises that the Government must have adequate funding.

“The BPSU acknowledges that the Government is faced with many challenges due to the pandemic and are forced to make some very difficult decisions as a result. This, however, does not negate the requirement for proper consultation with community stakeholders. The BPSU would have appreciated the opportunity to have some dialogue on these increases before they are implemented.

“Our current situation has highlighted more than ever before the need for comprehensive healthcare reform. This has been stressed in the last four reports produced by the Fiscal Responsibility Panel and is a major priority of the current Government’s mandate.

“Going forward, it is imperative that there be social dialogue with a tripartite approach that includes input from government, the unions, and the private sector. Together, we have a shared responsibility to contribute to an economic recovery that is human-centered, sustainable and resilient.”

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Comments (2)

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  1. Ringmaster says:

    Why doesn’t Bermuda have a single Healthcare Plan for everyone? Why do Government employees have a different plan, probably better, than the private sector who pays for their plan? At the same time cease the defined benefit Pension Plan for Government employees, again far better than available in the private sector, yet paid for by the private sector (at least for now)? Government employees are guaranteed employment yet have better benefits. It can’t and won’t last.
    Problem is the MPs have a different plan again, fully guaranteed, so they don’t care.

  2. J Starling says:

    I was with them until about the third last paragraph when it got anti-climatic.

    Was expecting a stronger protest and a call to action based on the preceding paragraphs.

    Would have appreciated more dialogue. Need for more pro-active engagement, etc. Okay, sure, but what about the here and now? What muscle/threat is there to back up the call that would force the pro-active engagement?

    Started strong, ended weak.

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