By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff
Authorities responsible for the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme are hoping to effect policy changes to reduce revenue losses; some of which are projected to affect the scheme this year.
Director of the Social Security Board (SSB), Antoinette Skelton said her organisation will be recommending changes to limit the places where select NHI beneficiaries can access healthcare in the territory.
These select beneficiaries have been identified as persons who are legally exempt from making NHI contributions and, therefore, receive free healthcare.
Persons exempt from making NHI contributions include children and persons 65 years and older.
While addressing the Standing Finance Committee recently, Skelton said these beneficiaries have been opting to seek health care at private facilities instead of public ones — a practice, she said, “could negatively affect the scheme”.
As such, Skelton said the SSB will “send forward a recommendation to the Minister [of Health] to have that legislation amended because those persons were not contributing, and NHI should not have to pay if they utilised the private facilities”.
Private healthcare facilities are known to be more expensive than public ones.
More than half-million lost
According to the SSB, the NHI recorded losses of more than half-million dollars last year.
The NHI’s total expenditure ($80,476,662) was more than its total income ($79,882,819) and this disparity resulted in a net loss of $646,843.
Director Skelton projected “a bigger loss” for 2018. She said this is because a number of hurricane-affected businesses are still nonfunctional.
Some 36,057 persons were registered with NHI at the end of 2017.
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