Health

Public consultation on health benefits reform

  • Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Three public town hall meetings to discuss proposed reforms to health benefits are to be held in the coming weeks.

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said that healthcare providers, insurers, employees and patients had been sought to “encourage meaningful, constructive dialogue”.

She added: “These reforms will affect us all and I need the input of everyone in the community to build solutions that work in our shared best interest.”

Ms Wilson said that talks so far on the proposed reforms had been “ extremely interesting”.

She explained: “I’m hearing a range of points of view and very important perspectives.

“This will help us build a better health system to make Bermuda healthier.”

The meetings are scheduled to take place on:

• September 16 at St James Church Hall, Sandys

• September 30 at St Paul AME Centennial Hall, Hamilton

• October 10 at Penno’s Wharf, St George

All meetings will start at 6.30pm.

A consultation guide on the proposed reforms has also been released at www.gov.bm/healthplan. A ministry of health spokeswoman said that the guide “provides a description of the Bermuda Health Plan 2020 proposals, the detailed data modelling assumptions in the ‘mock plan’, and information on how to respond to the consultation”.

Ms Wilson unveiled plans last month for a revised package of health insurance benefits designed to cut out-of-pocket expenses for the public.

She said that the Bermuda Health Plan 2020 would replace the Standard Health Benefit coverage for all the island’s 65,000 residents. But the level of coverage, as well as who will administer the scheme, remain unclear.

Ms Wilson said at the time that consultation documents on the plan would be released “over the coming weeks” and that there would be a four-month consultation period on what the plan should include and cost. The administration of the plan will also be discussed.

Naz Farrow, the chief executive of Colonial Group International, warned last month that the creation of a new system was a “massive and complex undertaking”.

Peter Lozier, the executive vice-president of group insurance at Argus Group, said that “health reform of this magnitude and complexity requires comprehensive input from a breadth of stakeholders”.

He added that the company “encourage the adoption of a flexible, rather than fixed, consultation period” as many details of the plan had not been determined.