BVI News

Over $40M yearly! NHI could bankrupt gov’t if not fixed

Premier Andrew Fahie has said his administration is now pumping more than $40 million per year into the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme, which he believes will bankrupt the government if the programme continues in its current form.

The Premier gave that indication during Thursday’s session in the House of Assembly where he said the unsustainable health insurance scheme is now being revised.

“It’s $42 million now — because of it not starting correctly — that we have to fork out every year as a government into NHI, and with COVID-19 it hasn’t gotten any less.”

NHI was doomed from the beginning

Premier Fahie, who is also the Minister of Finance, said the decision by the previous government to immediately start the scheme without allowing enough time for it to collect the needed funds was not prudent.

The Premier said from that moment onward, the NHI had started to generate millions in debt for the BVI government.

“The first set of calls at NHI was in the millions and NHI never catch itself from then to now and, as a matter of fact, the Minister of Natural Resources said it completely; if it is not reviewed, it will bankrupt the British Virgin Islands,” Fahie said.

$1 million into developing solution

The Premier said his government is now actively working on a plausible solution to revive the NHI scheme.

He said $1 million of funding was provided within government’s $40 million economic stimulus plans to hire the best professionals to ensure the revised NHI scheme is profitable.

The NHI and Social Security boards were responsible for selecting these professionals, the Premier said.

“So to help the people of the Virgin Islands to get out of this $42 million a year, to make sure that NHI can finance itself, to make sure that we can open new doors for NHI, we put a million dollars inside of the economic stimulus looking into the future to make sure that we develop NHI in such a way that it can pay for itself, and also have revenues to help with many other things,” the Premier explained.

No deadline for the revised plan has been announced but the Premier said the experts had projected to complete the plan in 18 months. 

He, however, said that 18 months was too long and requested they complete the project in a shorter period.

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55 Comments

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  1. Pandora's Box says:

    “He said $1 million of funding was provided within government’s $40 million economic stimulus plans to hire the best professionals to ensure the revised NHI scheme is profitable.”

    My goodness, this says it all. Another million for consultants to tell us it is broken. While the concept of NHI means well and is important, the population of these islands is just not enough to sustain it. Never mind the abusive milking of the system by the medical community whom have become very wealthy through this scheme. Especially the one in the ****** building who’s entire family cartel have fattened themselves and used these islands as their personal piggy bank!

    Like 39
    Dislike 4
    • @pandora says:

      If the *oy doesn’t give out consultancy contracts then there is no way for him to line his pockets. Obama did the same. It’s the way of the black man. Don’t complain just accept it.

      Like 10
      Dislike 23
      • Please says:

        I dont always agree with consultancies but plesee dont make this a racial thing. White American (lobbyist) is just about the same thing of not worst.

        Like 10
        Dislike 1
      • Pandora says:

        Hey … I’m white, and a BVIslander. Dont bring race into a problem where it doesn’t apply. Every race, colour, and creed of people all skim and steal from the cookie jar!

        Like 27
        Dislike 2
      • @@pandora says:

        Youhad to puke your hatred for the Black once again on media.

        Well, here are some genuine facts not raciall motivated, but are based on actual researched and commonly known facts.

        1. Every country and government in the world has severe corruption issues.
        2. Most countries with huge budgets and mega million dollar developments also have corruption issues.
        3. Every elected leader in the developed world engages in some sort of corruption scheme.
        4. Every race has corruption existing in its monetary dealings.

        The greatest examples of corrupt nations and leaers are USA, UK, EU, CH, AS Middle East and AF.

        So gu long with that rubbish. Can’t dehumanize those who know the truths.

        Last, your racist ideals are destroying your soul. You can change that. As Obama so poignantly stated, “yes you can!”

        Like 9
        Dislike 5
      • Anonymous says:

        @@pandora: An opinion, like a buut hole, everyone has one, and none of them deficates gold or sweet smelling perfume.

        Likewise,your uninformed foul smelling racist opinion and racism belongs in the septic tank with all other foul smelling materials.

        Like 5
        Dislike 1
    • Consultants says:

      The Tolans must be the most ignorant uneducated people on the planet. They need to hire consultants for everything. They must have hired consultants for reproduction (that’s baby making for you dumbasses) because the population getting stupider and more criminal in each generation.

      Like 25
      Dislike 15
  2. Nonsense says:

    Rumors are that you are going to give the Insurance healthcare system to N***** allegedly.

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
  3. EASY SOLUTION - SHUT IT DOWN says:

    Look at all the buildings and offices the doctors have been building the last 3 years. They are profiting in pure gold bars! Simple procedures which cost $50 now cost $500. It is really criminal to let the medical services get away with this.

    Like 71
    • Concerned says:

      Shut down, after so many people were forced out of their private insurance. All they need to do is get a cap on the cost of medical services. Just ridiculous and you know their 1 Million Consultant is not going to make that an issue, he is just going to fill his own pockets.

      Like 13
  4. Doh says:

    Lmao…

    Govt said it would save millions and pay for itself. Remember that?

    Another government failure.

    Like 24
    Dislike 1
    • @Doh says:

      It still can but the last government didn’t listen. The scheme has to be properly funded before being accessed and unless you negotiate proper fees with service providers, like REAL insurance companies do, then it’s useless!!! I don’t know why we hire professionals to advise us and then act contrary to the advice they were paid to provide. This makes me laugh because it was said that BUPA was being unfair to Government. Fast-forward years later? Now you see what BUPA and others were talking about?

  5. bottom line says:

    it need scrapping

    Like 7
    Dislike 4
    • To bottom line says:

      please submit your Universal Medical Care plan to government to replace the curent one with. Then tell us how you and your family, relatives and friends plan to never need medical attention, here or abroad, ever.

  6. NHI says:

    $75 is too much to pay if you not working. They are missing out on $$$ from multitudes of people that dont go to the doctor anyway who could put in a $20 instead of zero.

    Like 2
    Dislike 3
  7. free advice says:

    Only the hospital should process all the NHI patients then it will work

    Like 28
    Dislike 1
  8. Of course says:

    Seeing as (doctors’/exam) fees were not locked/agreed before NHI took effect, of course the costs increased exponentially. On private insurance before NHI, what was previously co-pays of $10 and $25 have become $30 and $100 under NHI :S

    Like 26
  9. Yes says:

    Mr premier i know it and many others know it to .if we continue on the current track with nhi we surely going to suffer. It was a very good idea but was not executed properly. Many of us are paying the minimum into nhi which is $78 but receiving maximum benefits. Which means someone else or the government is paying most of my medical bill. Simple look at it from this angle and you would know it cannot work. No business can continue on this sand bed unless the sand is money. Even a yr to look into this is to long. I want my people to receive good health care but it cannot sustain itself on this path.

  10. Dman says:

    This much money for such a small population is crazy. The intention of universal care is correct but the gift to the medical community is too much. The Government needs to find a way to involve itself with the financial end of things.

  11. What a ting says:

    Greed! Power ! Deception! Deceit! Prejudice! Hypocrisy! Manipulation !! If not checked or leave unchecked would ruin the country . This is not singular to the BVI it goes on wherever there are humans . However , with so few pillars left for the BVI to generate its economy at a profitable rate is heading into a disaster . This is not a self sustaining country for basic Survival – food, people savings dwindling because of unemployment , imported food prices going up every day , stimulus package held up because of bad minded individuals, point A don’t know what point B doing , people in Govt positions selecting who to help with govt funds , finger pointing getting worse , sure remedy for disaster – Churches quiet on gambling and marijuana prospects – Better is not going to happen

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
  12. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Premier, if strigent accountable safegaurds with effective monitoring capabilites relative to fraud, overpricing, flat out thievery, billing abuses and corruptions were in place, (those are the weak links in that critical piece of necessary needed medical legislation) along with severe penalities for the white and blue collar thieves, the system would solvent today.

    Therefore, the system, any system of this magnitude, once deployed will have loopholes and areas that were overlooked in it its initial nception and
    construction. That is where amendments, safegaurds and other legislatives tools come in.

    As such, it is now this government’s responsibility to fix and close those loopholes.

    The truth is, the dishonest professional thieves, (all of them should be at Balsom hotel) are reaking havoc on a poorly constructed system.

    However, with will, determination and the correct remedies, the NHI system can and must be fixed. Not by complaining of course, but by fixing it. Thiefing will never be completely curtailed, but it can be minimized.

    Indeed, where are those millions in consultancy contracts going if not for the interest of the people and tax paying voting public of the Virgin Islands?

    It stands to reason then, that the entire government’s financial system needs to be reformed and upgraded, in particular to stop or at least minimized thievery, dishonesty and blatant corruption. These are the elements that are plaguing NHI, SS and other agencies.

    For example, why are there no mechanisms in place that will discredit and avert thiefing employers from disadvantaging the NHI and SS system and many employees of benefits that have been rightly owed to them?

    Moreover, a bit back, one overseas institution demanded $78. 000.00 for one knee surgery. Another institution’s cost was $15, 000.00. 80% of that $78, 000.00 NHI would have been robbed out of. Unfortunately, it is and will continue to be the victim of greed, pillaging and dishonesty.The knee(s) are yet to be repaired, meanwhile.

    Additionally,some argue that the country is to small for a medical insurance scheme to work, That is nonesense. Yet, it appears to big and overwhelming, obviously, for government to establish means of collecting what it is legally due from the crooks. SMDH.

    Of course NHI can be fixed, but it will take bold, non-pandering and strong knowledgeable expertise in leadership, in anti-corruption legislation and vehicles to be brought in to fix it.

    All can complain from now till hell freezes over, the human mind will listen not nor act accordingly. Only a big bose stick with thorns on it will get them to be honest.

    Threfore, the government that is in power is responsible for fixing the economic ills of NHI and the country, not the previous one.

    Hence, if proper accountable and collection models and the cutting of waste were in place, there would be sufficient funds to serve the so called small population of this territory.

    Last, allowing the medical insurance safety net of the masses of the VI to go bankrupt due to a large amount of predators, thieves, (local and international), corruption and waste would be a national travesty that will cause tremendous sickness, pain, suffering and deaths for decades if not centuries yet to come. Fis the system and keep people healthy and long living.

    May God help and bless these VIslands and people.

    Like 17
    • @anonymous says:

      This is too much of a long blog that you need to remain anonymous. A matter of fact that’s not a blog. Next time please pay to publish an article. Can’t bother to read. Why people think they have to write so much strupes man.

      Like 2
      Dislike 12
      • @@Anonymous says:

        You are clearly not a reader or a critical thinker.

        Clearly you would not have read it whether it was a published article or not.

        Besides, BVI News saw the relevance of the ideas therein as being critical to the discussion, enough to post it.

        What is that to you then? To read or not to read is your choice. To take in another perspective, whether you agree with it or not expands the mind and increases knowledge and wisdom.

        Hence, he who fails to do either will remain mousy.

        Like 10
  13. Oh VIP says:

    Again, you are really worrying me. It doesn’t take consultants at $1M to tell you that NHI is broken and was doomed from the beginning. Elton Lettsome tried to tell ayo, but no one in government wanted to listen. Just scrap NHI and allow us to go back to private insurance and then divide the $1M as additional stimulus for the people of the VI who most need it now.

    Like 17
    Dislike 3
    • $$$ says:

      There are many of us who will definitely not be able to afford private insurance. We have chosen to walk this road and there is no turning back so we need to figure out how to improve it. The issue of price gouging was highlighted from the beginning but due to conflict of interest the former government chose not to address it. Now we are in danger of losing everything. #TRULYSAD

      Like 15
  14. true says:

    stop people using for everything, people walking into to gyms up several flights of stairs to go to a physio…

    People doing illegal activities yet we have to pay for thier injuries.

    Stop the NHI it was a good idea but set up badly so just stop it NOW as without payment in 60 days thats everyone still unemployed no longer are eligibkle for NHI.

    Just cancel the thing let people get their own insurance let people keep their money who do not.

    Like 5
    Dislike 2
  15. =) says:

    Not sure why it was put up from the beginning. This is a country that survives from expatriates, and yet we aren’t welcoming to them. If these expatriates leave who will contribute to the NHI scheme and pay for our healthcare system.

    Like 8
    Dislike 2
    • @=1 says:

      The expatriates came broke they did not bring money and they also use NHI more than locals. They always looking for freebies.

      Like 1
      Dislike 8
    • @=) says:

      Strupes. I am sick of hearing this expat crap, you know. Don’t worry about BVIslanders. We land on our feet. If we have to go back to planting potatoes and fishing to eat, we will humbly and without all the noise and stress because we will be along again. Nobody here to hustle and build big accounts yet calling us down. Sick of reading blogs about expats paying for this and expats keeping up that. We were here before and survived on our own, can survive again. Why can’t you just live among us and stop being mean? Why do you have to put nasty comments on the blogs every single day? Can you go home and live the quality of life that you live here with the savings that you have amassed? If you can, please go and let somebody nicer come. Wow. As I said before, the expats moving to our shores now just here to feed and bash BVIslanders. It is not a doggone competition. This is our home. Can we be comfortable and not read this same crap every day? What I know for sure is that you will not see one BVIslander in your face stressing you to hell out if you leave. So try it, go. This is probably the only island in the Caribbean where people are rude to the nationals and still here. #fedtohellup

      Like 1
      Dislike 2
    • @=) says:

      Expats are probably a big part of the reason we have NHI. Tapping the clinics and Hospital without looking back, giving bogus addresses. No insurance and going to the emergency room and not paying. Sounds familiar? Happened a lot.

      Like 1
      Dislike 2
  16. Anon says:

    Its not the medical professionals (for the most part) that cost so much. Its the administrators and bureaucrats that cost. How many patients in Peebles at a time, and how many nurses, support,cleaners, maintenance to take care of sonfew people.
    The private clinics spend lots of their own money to provide services then peebles get jealous and wants to duplicate it. The equipment costs millions – why should the government spend money it doesnt need to.

    Like 6
    Dislike 3
  17. Political Intelligence says:

    The last time NHI figures were release it showed that there were making alot of monies. The problem was that they were losing a bit more than they were making. That $40 million a year claim by Fahie looks well exaggerated from the figures Im seeing. Where did he get that figure from?

    Anyways, even though NHI has lost a few millions more than it makes. It is within the realms of correction. And the remedy is clear, many bloggers already stated them (not the dismantling of it though).

    NHI can still be argued in saving money because prior to NHI, the government use to spend more than NHI’s revenue/lost difference in people’s medical cost.

    More monies wasted on consultancy.

    Like 14
    Dislike 1
  18. Rubber Duck says:

    The cost of healthcare per year per head of population is
    ( 2016)

    UK. $4,192

    France. $4,600

    USA $9,892

    $42 million for 30,000 BVIslanders is $1,400 per head per year.

    • @Rubber DUck says:

      Good research. Now if everybody would pay, even though I think they now have a handle on that, we would be better off. And negotiate decent prices with Health Care Providers. Doubling the price of doctor visits et cetera because of NHI is downright highway robbery. A certain private hospital walks away with the hog share. That has to be fixed and the system works.

  19. Nonsense says:

    While the system has it’s flaws whereby some persons may not be contributing (employers/employees), the main issue is that NHI is supposed to work as an insurance scheme but it DOES NOT work that way! It has become a piggy bank for medical practitioners and it has to stop. NHI needs to negotiate fees with these entities and ensure they stick to said fees. The issue is simple and can be fixed very quickly, Government needs to get with it and stop these businesses from raiding the chest. NHI was put in place to stop Government from having to spend so much of our tax dollars on healthcare and now even with NHI they are still spending $40 mil? Something is really wrong!!!

    Like 12
    • @nonsense says:

      I think the time for negotiation may have passed. These places are passing visits through under different codes to get more money from NHI. It is sickening. The government need to step up and do what is best for the people here and not just do what is best for the 2 or 3 families that get most of the NHI payouts. If we restrict NHI to only govt facilities like the NHS in the UK it would be much more manageable.

  20. Give me the $1million says:

    Here is what you need to do….
    You want to use NHI? You must use a government facility (Peebles or a government clinic).
    If you want to go private you need to get your own insurance coverage.
    IT IS SIMPLE.
    Now in order to do this the government will need to upset a few families… however, given that they have been taking full advantage of the NHI system for several years now it is safe to say they have had their piece of the pie….
    My experience: At 34 weeks pregnant my NHI was maxed out for pre-natal visits. I didn’t do any extra to what I was told by my doctor i must do. I was handed a bill for $260+ and when they tried to put it through the NHI the first time it was rejected (as my coverage had maxed for this particular type of service) – so the facility processed the charge under another type of service so that NHI would cover it. The next time this happened they took the bill back and told me that if NHI are not paying they have a different fee…. the bill went from $260+ down to $85.
    If the private practices are going to steal from the government in this way they should not be included in the NHI system.

    Like 18
  21. Hmmmm says:

    NHI came for the “island doctors” to get rich.

    Dont pretend that NHI is for something else.

    • Theo says:

      Yeah didn’t this all start because they built a hospital they couldn’t afford that was done intentionally to make certain people even wealthier on the nation’s dime?

      I hope those people are happy now because their kids and their kids kids generations now need to live with this mess they’ve made of the BVI.

      Well done you guy’s killed the golden goose. At least you have the excuse that everywhere is messed up…so tell me again…what makes the BVI special?

  22. Hmmm says:

    Islanders need expat consultants. They dont have time to think. They dont think.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  23. E. Leonard says:

    Accessible, affordable, available and quality healthcare is a desired standard of living and quality of life goal for developed, emerging and developing countries. Meeting and sustaining this goal is expensive; delivering quality healthcare is expensive, especially in small locales as the VI. The two options of residents of getting healthcare are 1)individual purchase or 2)shared responsibility between employer and employee or government provided(NHI). Not having healthcare is not a healthy option and it is not in the national interest.

    Health insurance like other insurance is based on shared risk. The cost of insurance is spread over the whole risk pool; the larger the risk pool the less the cost to each individual member in the risk pool. The larger the risk pool the total cost will be spread over more people. The VI has a small population of approx 34,000. Based on this small population, it can be assumed that the cost of delivering healthcare services will typically be higher than in locales with much larger population. So what can the VI do?

    The VI must have a national insurance plan, which it has in NHI. The NHI must be restructured to make it more affordable, solvent, functional and sustainable. Next, an experienced actuarial firm must be engaged to determine fair and reasonable and sustainable cost for employee, employer, government, others………etc. Further, the programme must be effectively-led/managed with eminently qualified staff to contain cost yet deliver quality health services. To further contain cost, the community must partake in healthy lifestyles and preventive care and preventive medicine must be a core factor in national healthcare.

    • RealPol says:

      @E. Leonard, good point. But I would also add that providers fees need to be fair and reasonable.

    • Diaspora says:

      With the roll out of the NHI, many greedy providers cost of service automatically skyrocket from previous cost. Is it any wonder the cost to government is at an almost bankrupt level. Pure exploitation of the programme and the long suffering consumers.

      Exploitation and greed aside, the NHI programme was poorly launched. Before launching the programme, government should have established a fair and reasonable fee schedule with the opportunity for some reasonable negotiation. At the end of the day, government fee schedule set, interested providers would have come on board with the fee schedule as the cost for service basis. The greedy others could just step if they didn’t want to play ball. With the large government/ NHI pool, not too many would have left that many customers on the table. Government needs to develop a fee schedule for service delivery.

  24. Smoke & mirrors says:

    Government just took $40 million of our retirement monies from SSB now their looking at possible collapse of NHI. Nice work HOA. still trying to figure out why we address as Honorable when you are horrible

  25. Up the rate says:

    If 42M is accumulated by say 15,000 Employed persons, it would represent 7% of their total earnings.
    That leaves the total earnings per year at $ 600M
    Raising the Contributions just by 2% would raise the NHI pot to 54M.
    Which still leaves the BVI spending just $ 1,800.00 per head on Healthcare. Bringing a National plan to a commercial insurer will have to raise the percentage or premium significantly. As one can see in the USA where Health Insurers profits are still leading Wall Street….

  26. Frig up. says:

    Before NHI the doctor visit cost about $40.00.When NHI came in apparently it was approved that visits could be charged at about $120. Co pay was 10%. Immediately private health care clinics and providers charged the increase and NHI had to pay. No wonder the system is going broke. And check the health care providers – making millions. NHI flawed from the beginning.

  27. Concerned says:

    The gov is complaining that the money collected is not adequate, what is the government doing about the employers who deducted the money from the source for NHI and social security from employees but refuse to remit it to govt.Are these employers above the law?Sacred cows?

    To go and wastes im of taxpayers money to search for obvious things is ridiculous
    The beneficiaries should deposit or contribute enough before they start to enjoy the benefit.This will give some time for acruement before .

  28. lol says:

    They should release NHI employees’ salaries. For a system that is allegedly broken, they sure do have a hefty remuneration budget.

  29. island man says:

    When you have them private institution ripping NHI off this will happen. Imagine they sending you to Antigua for radiation for a whole lot of money when you can go further down island for a fraction of that cost. The NHI needs some good consultants to send people who have yo go overseas to a much cheaper place and you might even have way way better care than puerto rico and jamaica abd antigua.there are other islands there offering same service for much cheaper price.

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