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Over 365K paid out so far in NIB drug plan

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on the National Insurance Board’s(NIB)National Prescription Drug Plan since the program started in September, statistics have revealed.

Up to December 31, NIB had dished out$365,757 to cover over 20,000 claims by chronically ill Bahamians.

Another 8,000-plus claims were rejected by various pharmacies.

Statistics indicate that 17,721 have successfully claimed with private pharmacies.

In total,$328,448.31 has been paid out to those pharmacies.

In the public clinics there were 2,520 approved claims. Another 1,521 claims were rejected. In total, NIB paid$37,308.67 to public clinics.

There were 11,406 beneficiaries across The Bahamas up to December 31-with 7,621 in New Providence. Grand Bahama has the second largest population of beneficiaries with 1,342.

Approximately 35,000 Bahamians stand to benefit from the first phase of the plan.

The major benefit of the plan will be huge savings in time and money when accessing prescribed medications for 11 chronic, non-communicable diseases, namely, arthritis, asthma, breast cancer, diabetes, glaucoma, high cholesterol, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, major depression, prostate cancer and psychosis.

The initial phase of the plan is targeted for pensioners, invalids and children under 18, or those under 25 if in full-time education.

The drug plan provides more than 150 prescription drugs and medical supplies free of charge to members in the first phase and at minimal cost in later phases.

In an earlier interview withThe Nassau Guardian, NIB Director Algernon Cargill explained why some claims are rejected.

He said some members attempt to fill prescriptions for conditions they are not registered for, and some doctors are failing to write or stamp their names on prescriptions, which may cause rejections.

The drug plan was officially launched on September 20, 2010. Phase I is being entirely funded by the NIB. Phase II will be funded by a mix of co-payments, grants, contributions and coordination of benefits with private insurance companies. Phase II of the plan will cover the wider population including self-employed NIB contributors, persons voluntarily insured with NIB, the indigent and persons in government institutions.

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