#GrandTurk, Turks and Caicos Islands – September 25, 2019 — In a matter of just four years, the National Health Insurance Plan is expected to bust its own budget to the tune of $43.1 million dollars according to Premier and Finance Minister, Sharlene Robinson.
The National Health Insurance Board this month made a final presentation to Cabinet on its latest Actuarial Review and during House of Assembly meeting on Monday, Premier Robinson laid the review including its recommendations on the table.
“Coming out of this actuarial review are various recommendations for the national health insurance program to implement in order to address the estimated accumulated deficit of $43.1 million over financial year 2018 to 2022.”
The National Health Insurance Plan has grown over 40 percent since it started in 2010; from under 24,000 to now over 35,000 beneficiaries which accounts for 84 percent of the taxable population according to the Finance Minister. The need for medical care paid for by the social health care plan has also grown significantly.
“To this end Mr. Speaker, an actuarial review of the period April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2017 was conducted. I will provide a status update of the responses to the recommendations from the review. As mentioned already Mr. Speaker, a new actuarial review for the period post April 1. 2017 to March 31, 2019 has been commissioned and of course this will advise the minister and the board on the sustainable health care financing strategies to be pursued in the short, medium and long term.”
The NHIP actuarial of 2018 is a forensic review; aiming to expose whether or not the plan is adequately supported by the salary-deducted and employer-matched contributions; in other words, it gauges whether the plan is financially able to do what it promises it will do.
The revelation on Monday by the Premier confirms that the National Health Insurance Plan is falling short by an average $10 million, plus each year but she said the next Actuarial Review is when the Minister and the Board will determine the way forward.
“The evaluation is to take into account, health are financing strategies under consideration by the Board as well as any need to increase the stipulated reserve as outlined in Section 28 of the NHI ordinance,” the Premier explained that the new review will likely commence in the third quarter of 2019 and added, “The 2019-2020 budget catered for sums to address these recommendations such as the development of a funding policy and a risk management policy which are detailed among the recommendations listed below.”
Among the recommendations are enhanced staff efficiency measures, a human resources study, creation of a three-year strategic plan, renegotiated fees for more competitive treatment abroad services prices and a Claims Verification Officer has been hired.
Blue Hills Man Charged with Manslaughter
#TurksandCaicos, February 8, 2023 – A 48-year-old man has been charged with two counts of manslaughter.
He appeared before a Magistrate on January 30th. Following his court appearance, the matter was committed for sufficiency hearing on April 06th.
Andre was charged in connection with an incident which occurred on December 24th at the Residence Yard, Five Cays.
Two female minors -ages six and seven- died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Press Release: RTCIPF
Sugar and salt tax campaigns gaining steam
By Dana Malcolm
February 7, 2023 – A global battle on sugar and salt is ramping up as the United States joins The Bahamas and Barbados in creating proposals for historic sugar and salt laws.
The country’s Agricultural Department for the first time in history, proposed a cap on the amount of sugar to be allowed in school meals.
The World Health Organization has found that North America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of childhood diabetes in the world and based on the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas we also have the second highest prevalence of Diabetes overall for all global regions at 14 percent or 51 million people with a projected 24 percent increase in just 22 years.
Barbados, the United States, Canada, Haiti, Mexico, Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis are all suffering from incredibly high rates of diabetes.
Barbados and The Bahamas announced sugar taxes last month; the hope is to reduce the importation and sale of sugar and salt rich foods.
Advocates across the Caribbean including Jamaica, Trinidad, and others have been campaigning for sugar taxes in their own countries with support from the public.
Now the proposed nutritional rules for the United States would set firm boundaries on how much salt and sugar can legally be added to meals, setting a new standard as most food imports for countries like The Bahamas are from the US.
The plan for the US is expected to be rolled out by 2025.
The rules, are unapologetically an attempt to cut down incidences of diabetes and other diseases fueled by unhealthy diets, according to media reports.
For now, the quantities on sugar and salt additives is an idea waiting wider consultation.
TCI Office in Bahamas identified
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, February 7, 2023 – An office space has already been identified for an all-new TCI Immigration office in The Bahamas according to Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services.
Musgrove told Magnetic Media that the ministry was “almost there” in regard to securing the space; it indicates the Government is moving full speed ahead with plans for the passing of the new Immigration Bill which will allow third-generation TC Islanders citizenship, even as the public awaits consultations on it.
The announcement of the bill had caused some skepticism among islanders, some of whom wanted the government to focus on keeping TC Islanders at home instead of recruiting others. Musgrove however had made it clear that the TCI was in a population crisis and would need to slow down PRC naturalisation rates and naturalise people with historical, familial and cultural connections to the land or risk going ‘extinct’.
The office will work to deepen the relationship between the two sister countries even more and help increase the TCI’s population offsetting the need for masses of external labour according to the government.
When passed, the rule will apply to third-generation islanders everywhere, not only in The Bahamas giving them a free ticket to come home.
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