With an aim to provide overall improvement to the health care system and affordable health care in The Bahamas, the National Insurance Board (NIB) has begun registering persons for the National Health Insurance Plan initiated by the Government of The Bahamas.
The Bahamas Government plans to roll out NHI Bahamas in five phases: Phase One: Registration; Phase Two: Enrollment; Phase Three: Primary Health Care Coverage; Phase Four: Select Catastrophic Coverage; and Phase Five: Full Benefits Coverage.
Presently, Phase One is underway with the registration of Bahamians for their National Insurance Board (NIB) Smart Card. As a result National Insurance has identified a number of registration locations to assist in the registration process.
According to Christopher White, NIB’s Abaco office manager, an enhanced registration drive commenced on Jan. 18 at registration centers/local offices where the office remains opened until 7 p.m. (where necessary) to assist registrants. Registration will continue for approximately three months up until April 30, 2016.
All persons including students will be registered at the local office located in the Bahamas Government Complex in Dundas Town, and they will be required to complete Form R4, which is an application for registration or update of registration information. Applicants must also submit their passport, birth certificate along with voter’s card, or a registered/recorded affidavit along with a voter’s card or passport to complete registration.
A staggering 70 percent – approximately 200,000 – Bahamians do not have health insurance and pay for health care out of pocket. Once registered, Bahamians can choose to receive care from a registered and certified doctor in the private or public sector, with no difference in cost for primary care services. Additionally, those with private health insurance can still keep their private insurance.
Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, the Permanent Secretary for National Health Insurance, said: “The Government of The Bahamas is committed to building a health care system that is Modern, Affordable, and Accessible, and aims to make The Bahamas the healthiest country in the Caribbean region by the year 2040. These are the values that are at the core of all planning and policy-making decisions regarding health care for Bahamians.”
According to reports, the NHI Bahamas draft legislation is also expected to be released to the Bahamian community for review and comments therefore the NHI Secretariat announced that in February, NHI Bahamas will begin hosting another round of consultations and conversations within the islands of the northern Bahamas, which includes Abaco, Bimini and Grand Bahama.
Visit www.nhibahamas.gov.bs for more information on National Health Insurance.