Some 600 Grand Bahama residents enrolled in the new National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme on Wednesday, April 26, disclosed Permanent Secretary Peter Deveaux-Isaacs.
Deveaux-Isaacs, who traveled to Grand Bahama yesterday, made the announcement during a press briefing at the National Insurance headquarters.
According to Deveaux-Isaacs, this was a pivotal moment for NHI and enrollment started on Monday.
“So far we have enrolled over 3,000 persons and 600 of them are in Grand Bahama,” he added.
Deveaux-Isaacs stated that they wanted to bring the message to Grand Bahama to step up with enrollment.
He revealed that people seem enthused about the new health scheme and even in the airport people approached him about signing up for NHI.
“Our purpose for being in Grand Bahama this morning is really to talk about the enrollment phase,” he said.
Deveaux-Isaacs stated that there has been a ‘very heavy’ turnout for persons enrolling at the headquarters in Freeport.
“We have 600 now, as I said, and so far we have enrolled 15 - 20 persons this morning and we’ve heard from the persons in the room that the process is smooth and quick,” he said.
Deveaux-Isaacs noted that persons could also enroll online at nhibahamas.gov.bs.
Persons would need various documents to enroll, including the National Insurance smart card, proof of a Bahamian citizenship such as a passport, proof of residency of at least six months such as utility bills, housing contracts and voter’s card.
The fourth requirement would be for persons who already have private insurance to indicate the number of that policy.
“Because when it comes time to coordinate benefits between the private sector and the public sector, then our people can take that into consideration. It is not to stop you or try to take away your private insurance,” he said.
According to Deveaux-Isaacs, NHI encourages persons to keep their private health insurance, but they should still take advantage of NHI because the government is funding it.
“The first phase of NHI, this phase, the primary care phase the government is actually funding this from a consolidated fund. Your tax is already paying for this,” he revealed.
Deveaux-Isaacs added that the government has allocated $100 million to take care of primary care cases.
He noted that once enrollment is done persons would receive a notification after 10 days, which would tell them when those services would be available to them.
Prior to leaving the island, Deveaux-Isaacs planned to visit the Eight Mile Rock area to witness the enrollment activity there.