• The following statement was released this week by Progressive Labour Party MP Michael Scott
PLP MP Michael Scott

When Health Minister Kim Wilson announced that there would be no increase to the Government’s Standard Health Benefit Premium or to HIP or FutureCare premiums, most Bermudians gave a sigh of relief.

The news that BF&M has decided to increase their health Insurance rates by a huge margin while trying to blame the government is ridiculous and not what already struggling Bermudians want to hear. Especially from a company that recently boasted of healthy profits.

Despite the government making hospital funding more efficient, holding the line on premium costs and the overwhelming mandate to take on the forces that are keeping the cost of living high, BF&M has made a move that every Bermudian should decry.

The facts are that the Government refused to raise premiums while ensuring that there was no need for any company to further burden Bermudians with extra costs that many of us can’t afford.

BF&M also claimed that there was a 225 percent increase in taxes. This is totally and completely untrue. The standard premium rate and the mutual reinsurance fund premium are not a tax,  They are actuarially derived premiums to pay for catastrophic, illnesses and there has been NO increase this year.

The premium increases made by BF&M are a business decision based on their desired profit margins and shareholder interests. The extra premium they are charging is not to pay for hospital care – the Government is protecting that – it’s to fund their profits. Corporations are not entitled to Health insurance premiums particularly the Government set premium for minimum standard health benefits.

While BF&M’s increase is being falsely blamed on the government,  their decision is being driven by the primal forces of greed rather than anything else.

The change the Government is making to the way we fund the  Bermuda Hospitals Board is to ensure that the government’s set and mandated Standard Health Premium, pays only for the healthcare of its citizens and for oversight, and does not, go to insurance company profits.

The new streamlined model makes hospital funding more efficient and takes out the middle man of claims adjudication. This reduces administration, protecting and dedicating healthcare dollars for healthcare.

MP Michael Scott