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Health insurance changes reminder

Jeanne Atherden, the Minister of Health, Seniors and Environment

Four new benefits and one improved benefit will be introduced for HIP and FutureCare policyholders tomorrow — but premiums will also go up for 2015-16.

The Health Insurance Department today issued a reminder about the changes, stating that these “mark a strategic shift in our delivery of health services which is designed to provide better patient outcomes and population wellness in relation to the significant investment made by Government into the health of our citizens.

“Ultimately, our aim is to return the health system to a sustainable level with the appropriate level of accountability.”

The changes include a new personal home care service aimed at reducing the length and number of hospital stays by enabling the elderly to age at home.

To improve chronic disease management, an increased number of specialist visits will be offered and health and wellness benefits will be introduced for preventive care management.

And through a new youth coverage benefit, children up to the age of 21 will also be covered for specialist, dental and overseas care, when medically necessary and unavailable in Bermuda.

The HIP premium will be raised from $390 to $433.31 and the FutureCare premium will increase from $450 to $504.21, whereas a new HIP Youth premium will be $190.

Addressing the House of Assembly on July 17, Jeanne Atherden, the Minister of Health, Seniors and Environment, said that premiums have had to increase because of escalating healthcare costs, a significant rise in claims and an increase in the Standard Health benefit rate.

The Health Insurance Department has also made changes to an existing benefit for policyholders by introducing a new overseas preferred provider network.

“HID has developed an Overseas Preferred Provider Network in response to the escalating cost of overseas treatment,” Ms Atherden said.

Within the network, HIP will continue to pay 60 per cent of usual and customary charges and FutureCare pays 75 per cent.

However, 10 per cent less will be paid for HIP and FutureCare claims that are out of the preferred provider network and elective treatments, second opinions and experimental treatments are not covered.

Ms Atherden told the House that “substantial savings will result from this policy with no degradation in quality of care and patient outcomes”.