BVI News

NHI scheme to be restructured! Current system ‘in threat of failure’, says Premier

The building that houses the NHI offices

While delivering his Budget Address for the upcoming 2020 fiscal year, Premier and Minister of Finance Andrew Fahie has announced that the current National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme will be overhauled.

“Your government intends to carry out a comprehensive restructuring of the NHI as the current scheme is unsustainable and is in threat of failure,” the Premier said.

Prior to making that statement, Premier Fahie had said his government will be allocating $2 million to the BVI Health Services Authority to fund several projects. 

He said the goal of this investment is to help reduce the level of dependency that most local healthcare providers have on the NHI.

“This is an essential investment. It is critical in ensuring that the health authorities are able to collect sufficient revenue to meet all of its obligations and reduce its reliance on the National Health Insurance programme,” Premier Fahie stated.

System broken for a while

Back in August 2018 when Fahie was a member of the parliamentary Opposition, Third District Representative Julian Fraser labelled the NHI as a “broken” system.

Among some of the issues singled out by Fraser was his concern that the NHI was turning away unemployed persons.

“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,” Fraser said at the time.

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32 Comments

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  1. Details, please says:

    How much of the unsustainability have to do with employer withheld contributions that were never paid into the system? Article is lacking in details as to why NHI is failing. Was there ever any study that examined whether the Territory is big enough to sustain a scheme like NHI?

    Like 19
    Dislike 2
    • Jokes says:

      Please, it is obvious.
      People are going to expensive private clinics for treatment, with the cost going to NHI.
      That is the major part of problem.
      There should be price control and people should have to go to a NHI funded clinic for treatment.
      That would make it sustainable.

      Like 28
      Dislike 1
      • just amazed says:

        People do that because they want to live . The doctor rates have tripled however and that is a huge problem . People are also getting sicker by the minute from the toxic fire fumes from Pockwood . Plus the people coming from the USVI for treatment .

        Like 16
  2. Dream on says:

    No class/category can be “Free”. Someone needs to pay for it. Govt should have stayed out of it. Fees have skyrocketed. Private insurance was doing a better job at less cost. This will bury the BVI financially, not that the country needs much more help going down the shi**ter.

    Like 25
    Dislike 3
  3. Please says:

    NHI was a bad idea it needs to be given to a big insurance company that will handle the payout. Medical practitioners who here in the territory have raped the system allegedly.

    NHI needs an audit but it would be a waste of time since the authorities don’t even investigate the findings and reveal it to the public.

    The government system has too much immature young people from the highest office down.

    Like 20
    Dislike 1
  4. Scary! says:

    I am at a loss for words! NHI is in its infancy and already failing? How?

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  5. Do not understand says:

    NHI is working very well for the people of these Virgin Islands, Try doing a survey and I am sure you will get some positive results however Government is afraid to do what they need to do for the survival of the scheme.

    1. Try to improve and increase the amount of services offered at Peebles Hospital. Imagine at this time and age you have to go private to have MRI, Colonoscopy, Endoscopy just to name a few.

    2. NHI not receiving payments for the elderly children or indigent but still have to pay a large amount privately for such services

    3.Imagine talking about NHI covering unemployed persons. never hear so much stupidness, if you are not receiving money how can you pay out money. Politicians need to come up with a plan as to how they are going to take care of their unemployed incase they get sick, not NHI

    Please Mr. Premier and Minister for Health try offering more services and getting more specialist Doctors at your Institution so that so much people would not need to go oversees and private for services. It sound very pretty saying NHI need restructuring but the core of the problem is above.

    Like 22
    Dislike 3
    • Not2Sure says:

      I don’t think they are afraid – they are just using code. “Restructure” really means ‘increase the rates of contributions from employers and employees’. All of the other failings of the system will not be addressed – just the cost will go up to prevent the scheme going bust.

  6. Mr Shovels says:

    Why is there no mention of local medical facilities that are thoroughly abusing the system. The cost of the average visit has doubled or even tripled compared to what it was right before the implementation of NHI

    Like 47
    Dislike 2
    • fowl foot says:

      Thats the problem the medical service price has trippled and we were told from the begging this would be a failure.Especially the dentist they would keep u coming back for ever to see them for little stuff.Also NHI wants to tell you how much time a year to get sick and what doctor u should go to

  7. FEO GOMEZ says:

    So how long you think it would take before these lazy good for nothing long bush Belle vue East End skets to work then quit and screw man all day with 10 children while still being covered by NHI. No way Jose you ain’t working NO NHI. I don’t even need to mention the losers up on down or on the block all day NO NHI in your backside even though some people who have money kids just look and especially smell like losers( very poor hygiene) but daddy got money so it’s all good.

    Like 6
    Dislike 3
  8. Anonymous says:

    The system is not briken. The mind if man is.

    The act of thiefing from an establishment through indirect means, where the conscience does not directly become affected as it does by a face to face contact, makes it easy to thief and abuse a system.

    Case in point: A family member insurance pays $5,000.00 in Florida for a knee procedure.

    Same family member brother seeking the identical medical procedure, but by another medical doctor office/institution/insurance charged NHI $76,600.00 for the same identical procedure, in the same state, as the original family procedure.

    Question is, among many other troubling questions, why? Why? why was NHI charged so exorbitantly for a $5,000.00 proedure.

    Like 11
    • @Anonymous says:

      They are doing it here right in Tortola. And, they taking people for operation when them know the operation ain’t going to help the person.

  9. Hit the Nail on the Head says:

    Ways of keeping the system solvent.

    When persons become unemployed and up until they get a job in 6 weeks, let a portion of the reduced workers compensation from social security go towards the employees’ NHI premium.

    Additionally, the retiree or seniors who paid into the social security scheme should have to pay NHI by allowing a portion of their monthly social security check to go towards the NHI scheme.

    A review of the doctor visit fee needs to be had and the frequency. The fee is too high and the number of visits are too many and need to be reduced.

    Persons should be allowed to have private insurance but pay a reduced premium to the NHI scheme for example instead of 3.75% should pay 2% with an employer matching 2% and when claims are made the private insurer would pay the 80% while NHI would pay the 20%. My 2 cents.

    Like 9
    Dislike 4
    • From the Nation to the PREMIER says:

      NHI is failing because of greed from local service providers. Health care went up substantially around the time NHI was introduced. Get the data from the local insurance companies. Imagine an eye doctor charging you $350 for a standard checkup every year and they don’t even spend 15 minutes with you. In other Caribbean islands that test cost under US$50. The medical offices including the hospital are taking advantage of the system. But we look and we see who were behind NHI and we have to wonder if it was to the real benefit of the people.
      And now all of a sudden you getting all kind of medical advice to do this and that…and I would be surprised if it ain’t leading to some people’s untimely deaths. God is looking on.

      Like 14
  10. Not reinventing the wheel says:

    In the UK employees pay 12% and employers 13.8% that’s a whopping 25.8% of the national salary bill goes into NHI to keep it going!!

    Like 1
    Dislike 2
  11. TO THE PREMIER says:

    Please don’t penalise the public. We paying 7 and a half percent of salary. DEAL WITH THE DOCTORS AND HOSPITALS THAT OVERCHARGING THE PUBLIC. It can’t be that the public have to suffer again. Deal with the problem at its source. The public ain’t the problem. Deal with who charging you, not with who giving you the money to run this programme.

    Like 16
  12. LOL says:

    BI-WATER IS WORKING…………NHI IS FAILING

  13. BVI says:

    There are specific private clinics in the BVI that is to blame for the situation with the NHI.

    Like 13
  14. This is it says:

    How can you reduced the dependency on NHI when you create a system where NHI is the only finance source for healthcare revenues. The share number of contributors dictates that NHI would fail from the beginning. People with their health insurance should have been left alone and a health tax of 2% equally shared by the employee and employer introduced to fund the insurance cost for the unemployed. Private insurance is now a minuscule player in the market, NHI is by far the major funder. Social security was able to accumulate large surplus and reinvest to generate even more revenues. NHI will never reach that position because it cannot meets its monthly payout. This is made even worst by unscrupulous Employers who are not paying the money they collected from workers plus the issue of over-charging for services by some providers.

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  15. TurtleDove says:

    I still have the scars from saying this is a bad idea when it was proposed……Population too small for this…the reason why it cost someone in florida 5000 and an NHI recipient 76 thousand is because the insurance company in Florida worked out a deal because they have millions of patients…so NHI is actually paying the inflated true cost.

  16. :) says:

    The BVI’s population is too small for this to work at the current percentage that is being paid. Not only is the population too small then we have too many exemptions further reducing the potential amount to be paid; unemployed, children, elderly, crazy, and certain government officials pay absolutely nothing that leaves probably less than 15,000 people that are contributing. Then of the people that are paying there are a high number of low income jobs, less than $20,000 a year how can that pay for the health care for over 30,000 people. When I read my receipt and see the amount that I should have paid without NHI I cringe to know that the government have to cover hundreds of dollars while I paid a few dollars. This was doomed for failure.

    • two cents says:

      You have a strong point. The government should have gone through insurance companies and negotiate low premium for certain income leaves. Get a few different level plans and then make it mandatory that everyone buy health insurance. If you refuse to buy insurance your income tax is increased to cover you as a liability on the public health system. All ad other strong compelling measures.

  17. And So says:

    This system really needs an overhaul I hope it’s for the better I’ve been paying my NHI from since when it first come on board and to my surprise after doing my doctor checkup for this year I was told NHI would not cover my Prostate Test so I have to pay for it in full now that is what suprises me.

  18. Patience says:

    For years I was using N****o and every time on different doctor visits I realize I would get a check in the mail with a few dollars and cents form time to time sometimes I didn’t even wanna carry them to the banks because it use to be 0.25 cents 2.00 dollars etc etc I had to make a switch to NHI because I couldn’t maintain paying 2 insurances my point is after all these years paying NHI I can’t even see a payback check in the mail for me and I know these doctors does over charge people

    • @Patience says:

      I understand exactly how you feel. I have supplementary insurance, not that I can really afford it, but I have heard so many horror story of NHI denying persons from going to places where they need to go to get required care or denying them access to certain treatment needed.

  19. Scam says:

    NHI is being taken advantage of by the doctors. I went to the Doctor and had tests done and the doctor said he would call me with thr results. When I did not hear from the doctor I went to the office and was told I had to see the doctor and pay for another visit. I explained he promised to call me with the results. The desk person spoke to the doctor and was told to have me make an appointment. So I and NHI were ripped of for the cost of the tests. And they wanted to rip us both off a second time. Major scam to make money and rip off me and NHI. . I refused to make another appointment. AND I will never return to that medical group.

    • island man says:

      Yes these are stuff they need to looked into. These private clinics are ripping off NHI and the government was not doing anything I hope this new government do something.

  20. Expat says:

    A system need to be in place for caribbean visitor who does not have private insurance because if they are visiting relatives for a month and they get sick its full amount they will have to pay especially senior visitors who may have senior health problems.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  21. two cents says:

    NHI need to come up with at least two insurance coverage plans and restructure their deduction fees, as well as stop making NHI mandatory or primary insurance. If people can pay less for NHI, they will take out private insurance and NHI will not be used as much. The whole country having no choice really, but to be on NHI and this is unsustainable.

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