BVI News

NHI is a ‘broken’ system, says Fraser


Opposition legislator Julian Fraser has written off government’s National Health Insurance scheme as a “broken” system.

Fraser made those claims while raising concerns that the NHI is turning away persons who are unemployed.

“Seniors were supposed to be free [under NHI]. When a person became unemployed, they were supposed to be free as well, but people who have become unemployed have found themselves without NHI. They are being told flat out that they don’t have any coverage because your payment has lapsed. Well, if I don’t work, where am I going to get money from to pay?”

“I think that that policy needs to be formalised and not left up to the people of NHI to decide,” Fraser said.

He made those assertions in the House of Assembly last week and said legislators need to accept that the NHI needs fixing.

While responding to the Fraser’s assertions, Health Minister Ronnie Skelton admitted that the NHI needs “tweaking”.

He also admitted that the matter of unemployed persons who are incapable of making NHI contributions needs to be addressed.

“Those situations need to be addressed by the government. You cannot ask a system to take care of a problem that the whole government should be looking at,” Skelton said.

He, however, added: “NHI is not a solution to everything. It is a solution to the health care needs of people who are paying into the system.”

“Let us be realistic. Let us try to find some solutions to the needs of our citizens in this country who really need healthcare. We need to be able to do that, give people hope – give people solutions to problems; not believing that whatever they want they can get,” Skelton said.

Under NHI regulations, persons exempted from making NHI contributions include persons 65 years or older, indigent persons, dependent children, wards of the state, risk officers (such as police, Customs, Immigration, and firefighters) prisoners, and persons qualifying under the UK/BVI Reciprocal Health Agreement signed in 1989.

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  1. Fact says:

    The NHI system is not broke! As a matter of fact, for a new system of this kind it has far exceeded expectations. These types of programs will always need tweaking as time progresses and issues present themselves but the program has saved lots of lives and saved the Government much needed funds. What needs to be tweaked is the prices being charged by private practices and to sort out the issue of unemployed, elderly and kids as mentioned by Fraser. Of course we have be careful because if we are trying to cover non-contributing parties via a contributory system then you’re asking for trouble. Perhaps social security/social development/government need to put something in place for those persons that are unable to contribute to NHI for whatever reason.

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    • Agreed says:

      and That’s Factssssss ok! Agreed! @facts

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    • Common sense says:

      NHI is most definitely broken. It was supposed to be an affordable program for the less fortunate instead it has caused doctor visits to triple in cost and has made doctors rich. More logical approaches were recommended to the government but they ignored them to fulfill their own selfish ambitions. Some of the approaches would of kept doctors fees down while allowing world wide access for all and not disenfranchising the unemployed the elderly or non adults.

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      • @Common sense says:

        Its a form of insurance which only started a few years ago and saved hundreds of lives. The only issue is the overcharging and abuse being levied by private practitioners.

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        • Common sense says:

          There are far more issues than that but I did not come come on here to bash the program. It does not provide adequate coverage abroad nor in the bvi. It has also destroyed the affordability’s of health insurance for those Seeking to buy private insurance. How can nhi save hundreds of lives when you have to pay 3 times the amount now. The program only covers doctor visits alone. What you fail to realize is that even though you may pay a small deductible on your doctor visit the rest is transferred to the government and ultimately the tax payers.

      • @ Common sense says:

        How is NHI suppose to keep the doctor fee down? The doctors have become greedy all because this is a Government-owned insurance. Everyone is trying to get rich quick off the Government and when it doesn’t happen they complain, complain, complain. You need to tell the doctors to stop adding unnecessary fees everytime you visit.

        • common sense says:

          The government were given advise on how to implement NHI and they refused to take the valuable advise. Trust me if that advise was taken other countries would have been coming here to the BVI to emulate our model for health care. The method I am speaking about was set up in a way not to allow for eye gouging because it would have applied a principal in insurance called a usual and customary clause which would put a cap on all claims filed. Please do not try to discredit me I know what I am talking about and I am not here to expose all the inefficiencies in NHI. Just saying that it needs to go back to the drawing board. The question is it to late to do so. It will cost Millions of dollars to fix.

    • Wow says:

      You hit the nail on the head.

    • two cents says:

      Labour Department need to introduce an Unemployment Benefit Scheme.

  2. Help me Lord says:

    Everything in this country is broken. Let’s put politics aside just for a moment to wait for Orlando and his ministers to apologize to us.

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  3. Not2Sure says:

    NHI was supposed to be a public health scheme to take care of the health care needs of (among others) the elderly and the poor.

    Instead, what we got is a highly expensive public run insurance scheme for employees. Instead of getting cost effective private insurance, they can pay three times as much for substandard insurance through NHI, and still pay hefty co-pays.

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  4. trust me says:

    when fraser becomes premier in a couple of months, he will fix this

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    • SCBR says:

      Who? Fraser as Premier???? Do you know what are you saying the water problem in Sea Cow’s Bay since 2010 he cannot fix it you think he can solve the NHI problem wake up!!!!

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  5. NHI sucks says:

    NHI was pushed on us especially persons in the private sector who’s employers provided insurance as one of the benefits. Now we are forced to pay for NHI and for supplementary health insurance as well (if we want to receive decent health care).

    NHI is broken and needs to be fixed, not tweaked!

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  6. well says:

    If they are not contributing let them use the Public Health Services. How can they expect to use the services of private providers and they are not contributing. Come on, what do you all expect. *Robin Hood*

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    • Answer says:

      Because everything in the BVI is politics! Instead of telling it like it is, we played games and they had no choice but to tell the truth or watch the program become bogged down and no longer functioning because of political BS. The state (Government) should take care of those who need the assistance. You cannot have NHI covering bills at private medical facilities for persons that do not contribute to the program.

  7. Eagle eye says:

    NDP really have to go.glad Rhonnie lost leadership,he mite have bring in a next taxt to kill us further.

  8. E. Leonard says:

    The BVI should provide all residents with access to available, affordable, quality and basic (at least) healthcare. Accessible, available, affordable and quality healthcare is a quality of life and standard of living issue; it is core requirement and expectation in developed countries.

    However, making this happen will be a major challenge. Nonetheless, to make this happen will require all residents polling their resources to share in, along with government, with the cost. Delivering healthcare services is expensive; a small population (~30,000) will increase the contributory cost per residents. No resident should have to choose between rent-healthcare or food-healthcare; basic healthcare should not be ration based on ability to pay.

    Moreover, from my vantage point, it seems as if the prime purpose of NHI programme was to deliver on the objective of delivering available, accessible, affordable and quality healthcare. No programme is perfect with tweaks, adjustments……etc always needed to improve it. Is the NHI broken as some have declared or has others noted it needs tweaking.

    Nevertheless, one thing is certain is that it is a service that will not go away; it is a core deliverable. It is a problem that any government will be faced with; it must be a top priority for any government. It is not sufficient to declare it broken; there must be solutions to fix it. Some may view government provided healthcare as socialism. Nonetheless, there are no pure socialism or capitalism system.

    Further, reasonable and practical measures should be employed to reduce the cost of delivering healthcare. Strong and effective preventative care must be a core element in the healthcare programme.

  9. The doc says:

    So what happened to all that money that was paid in while working before u take sick or become unemployed.

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  10. Think... says:

    When they start to increase how much they take out
    to supplement the amount of people not paying into the system because of lack of employment , let me know if its still broken……but wait this sounds familiar ..hmm

  11. Anonymous says:

    Who dont pay in the sistem have the govement hospital to go , the hospital should not charge those who are elderand the

  12. Victim says:

    My new husband found himself without coverage and needed to go PR for treatment but was being refused. Fortunately he was covered under Nagico through my job. We had to pay over $3000 to cover BACK PAYMENTS he could not pay because not working before they would cover him

  13. Jes says:

    The big mistake is this government was not thinking about the health of the people of this country. They wanted to help their friends who came to the country and did not have health insurance. The statutory bodies were able to keep their insurance. Check out how many expatriates work with those bodies. Government squashed the insurance for their workers right away before seeing how NHI would work. They put seniors and government retirees in a vulnerable position. To add they to be primary, pushing the insurances already established under the bus.. The who thing was an ego drive. They must admit their fault. Not having the hospital with equipment for some tests. ,patients were sent to a private provider, which was costly. More to come later

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