Not that it’s a surprise as health care costs have been skyrocketing for some time, with ongoing warnings that it will become unsustainable, but according to the Bermuda Health Council’s latest report, Bermuda recorded a $20 million increase in health spending in 2016-17.

The 2018 National Health Accounts Report, total public and private expenditure during the same period was nearly $723 million.

The report, which identifies trends in finances and compares Bermuda to other jurisdictions can also be used to shape policy decisions moving forward for the island’s healthcare system.

In a BHeC statement released today noted that “the general year-over-year trajectory, total health financing and expenditure increased”.

“This increase of $20 million in spending represents a 2.26 per cent uptick, which supports what is expected as the population ages and our communities learn more effective ways to prevent and manage the existing burden of chronic disease.”

It was also noted that there was a small change in the typical distribution of financing, with a drop in health insurance as a portion of funds overall and a rise in out-of-pocket payments.

“To better understand the cause of this shift, and its impact on the sustainability of the health system and individuals’ access to care, we are moving towards greater enforcement of the Claims Regulations’ legislation.”

Policy analyst, Tiara Carlington, said: “Looking at the findings of these reports over time, it is clear that we have to move away from the expectation that more expensive care means better care.

“Instead, we need to be more sensible about how we spend and align our spending with our system’s long-term goals — once we make that change we can begin to expect more.”

The Health Council will continue to review the information reviewed for these annual publications “in the context of achieving quality, equitable and sustainable health system”.

“It is through such an evidence base that we as a collaborative community will move toward making Bermuda the healthiest island in the world.”