Minister announces increases in health insurance premiums – the Royal Gazette
Updated: Sep 10, 2021 4:56 PM
Kim Wilson, Minister of Health (File photo by Blaire Simmons)
Increases are planned for compulsory health insurance premiums in line with “current market realities”, lawmakers heard this morning in the House of Assembly.
The higher rates will support additional benefits for prescription drugs and a health program for uninsured women.
Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, also cited the cost of care for a steady annual increase in the number of dialysis patients on the island.
Bermuda Hospital has been hit by declining revenues on top of the additional costs associated with tackling the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Wilson said there had been a drastic drop in the number of insured workers enrolled at the standard premium rate, which she attributed to “unemployment or emigration”.
SPR incomes have been pegged at just over 49,000 adults over the past two years, but that number fell to 46,181 in May.
Ms Wilson announced a planned increase of $ 45 to the monthly SPR payment – an increase of 13.6%.
It will cover “a new reduced insured workforce” to ensure the Bermuda Hospitals Board meets its revenue target.
She said it would also support continued treatment for patients with kidney failure, where the number of dialysis patients would increase by 10 to 15 percent per year.
The increase in the SPR will also go towards “a new maternity care benefit for uninsured women that will guarantee more equitable access, regardless of income, insurance or social status”.
There is also a monthly increase of $ 30 for the health insurance plan premium, an increase of 6.9%.
It will be accompanied by a new prescription drug benefit covering 100% of costs up to $ 1,000 per insurance year.
Ms. Wilson announced a monthly $ 30 increase in the FutureCare premium, up 6%.
This decision will be accompanied by a $ 1,000 increase in existing prescription drug coverage from $ 2,000 to $ 3,000.
Both programs saw new customers sign up.
An aging population continues to increase the number of customers using FutureCare.
Ms Wilson said the government’s work on universal health coverage was continuing.
She added: “We expect that before the end of this year, we will define the steps that we have agreed with stakeholders across the system to start this journey again.”