The National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme is now estimated to cost $130 million annually, according to Graham Whitmarsh, managing director of the National Health Insurance Authority.
Back in October, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said NHI would cost taxpayers approximately $100 million a year.
“The kind of mature program that we’re looking at here with the amended policy, we think it’s around $130 million, but we’ll refine that as we go forward,” Whitmarsh said during a press conference today when asked how much NHI would cost.
Whitmarsh, who presented the revised policy paper released titled, “National Health Insurance: A Shared Responsibility”, said the policy was adjusted following public feedback.
Some of the more significant changes include lowering the two percent monthly income cap to 1.5 percent and removing the 50-50 cap on salary deductions.
“Additionally, the definition of income will include gratuities, overtime and bonuses,” according to the policy paper.
“[This] will benefit lower wage earners, and lead to higher wage earners contributing more and up to full monthly premium amount.”
The authority provided a breakdown of employees’ monthly premiums for NHI based on their annual salaries.
An individual who makes $10,000 per year, for example — minimum wage — would contribute $12.50 per month. In this case, the employer would contribute $70.83 per month.
On the higher end, employees who make $66,667-plus per year would pay $83.33 per month while their employers would not contribute anything, the document shows. Based on the old policy proposal, employees would not have been obligated to contribute more than $41.67.
Whitmarsh said the scheme will be rolled out in July 2020.
It is estimated that about 170,000 people will be enrolled in the program.