The Government of The Bahamas
highlighted several significant milestones in the implementation of NHI Bahamas
and the improvement of the health care system overall.
Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, the Permanent Secretary for National Health
Insurance and Dr. Delon Brennen, NHI’s Programme Director made several
announcements today, the launch of www.nhibahamas.gov.bs, a public
information website, the NHI Bahamas logo, ongoing health system strengthening
activities, and continued stakeholder consultation and public information
“NHI is a key initiative to building a more modern and prosperous
Bahamas,” said Permanent Secretary Deveaux Isaacs.
NHI Bahamas is part of a wider programme of improvements being
made to the health system. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the
Public Hospitals Authority, Health System Strengthening activities are ongoing
and will continue to be the backbone for delivering better health system
performance in the future. Such
activities include e
xtended public clinic
hours, an appointment based system for shorter wait times, improvements to
existing public clinics on all islands and many more.
“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,” said the
Approximately 70% of Bahamians - that is over 200,000 people in
The Bahamas - do not have health insurance and often have to pay for health
care out of their own pockets. Further, research shows that amongst people
without health insurance, 32% have at some point needed medical treatment but
did not seek help because they were worried about the cost.
NHI Bahamas is being phased in over several years to ensure the
Government’s ability to pay for it sustainably. The five phases of NHI Bahamas
Phase 1: Registration
Phase 2: Enrollment
Phase 3: Primary Health Care Coverage
Phase 4: Select Catastrophic Coverage
Phase 5: Full Benefits Coverage
The first phase is
already underway, with Bahamians starting to register for their National Insurance Board (NIB) Smart Card
will act as their NHI card.
Bahamians are encouraged to “get your card to get your care”. NIB is making a
big push for registration and has a number of available registration centers,
with additional locations added to accommodate this exercise. Citizens are
encouraged to call NIB for more details on registration locations at 225-5642.
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. Those who currently have private health
insurance do not have to give that up if they do not want to.
Dr. Brennen provided some examples of the primary care coverage
persons will be entitled to under NHI Bahamas saying, “A pregnant mother will
be able to get an ultrasound to check on her unborn child without having to pay
for it. Those at risk for diabetes can have screening done free of charge. You
can go to your primary care doctor for an annual checkup without having it
impact your bank account.”
All health costs for primary care services will be paid for by the
Government of The Bahamas through general revenue collected by the Ministry of
Finance. It is estimated that this phase of NHI Bahamas will cost the
Government approximately $25 million from April until June and will be tracked
and forecasted each quarter thereafter based on utilization rates and cost
saving. As the programme progresses, full benefits, including catastrophic coverage,
will be included in NHI Bahamas.
The new NHI Bahamas logo was unveiled at the press conference.
“The logo really embodies the values of NHI Bahamas. It signifies the
importance of the community jointly creating a National Health Insurance
programme that is modern, affordable and accessible for legal residents of The
Bahamas,” said Permanent Secretary Deveaux-Isaacs.
The NHI Secretariat also launched www.nhibahamas.gov.bs, the only source for accurate and complete
information on NHI Bahamas.
The website acts as a hub of information and provides important
content on understanding NHI and details about what is covered, as well as
addressing some of Bahamians’ most common questions regarding National Health
The NHI Bahamas draft legislation is also
expected to be released to the Bahamian community for comment within short
order. NHI Bahamas extends an invitation to all stakeholders from within the health
services profession, the insurance industry and other groups, to review and
provide insights on the programme, which is designed to improve patient-centered
The NHI Secretariat also announced that in February, NHI Bahamas will
begin hosting another round of consultations and conversations within the
islands of the northern Bahamas that include Abaco, Bimini and Grand
Bahama. A complete listing of dates and
times for public meetings will be available online.