The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, located near the coast of Florida, is a very popular vacation destination during the summer months. Attracting millions of visitors each year, it is home to some of the most iconic beaches in the world. In fact, the country’s economy thrives mostly on its tourist industry. Lesser known, beyond the country’s beautiful scenery, is its progressive health care system. In recent years, Bahamians have enjoyed improvements to the country’s health care due to the Ministry of Health. Its mission statement is “to ensure that the highest quality of services for health promotion, health protection and health care are accessible to all residents of The Bahamas in order to achieve an optimal level of health.” Here are nine facts about health care in The Bahamas.
9 Facts About Health Care in The Bahamas
- NHI Bahamas: In January 2016, the government began a new national health insurance program called NHI Bahamas, with an objective to make it “modern, affordable and accessible.” The government created this in response to 70 percent of the Bahamian population not having health insurance. As a result of this, the average person was paying about $2,300 each year for health services. Enrollment for the new program began in 2017. The program aims to decrease the number of citizens with diseases that a vaccine can easily prevent, such as hepatitis B and tetanus.
- Free Health Care: Basic Bahamian health care is free for expectant mothers, children, civil servants and all people age 60 and over.
- Full Health Care Benefits: All legal residents of The Bahamas are eligible to receive full health care benefits. There are no limitations based on economic or health status.
- NHI Program Coverage Limitations: The NHI program does have some limitations. For example, it does not cover overseas care, pharmacy services or other services provided by specialists. This includes dental health or psychotherapy.
- Private Health Insurance: While non-residents can receive health care if necessary, recommendations determine that long-term visitors should purchase private health insurance. This is because the country does not include a national health insurance scheme as a part of its health care system.
- Bahamian Health Care Costs: The exact cost for Bahamian health care, beyond the basic level, can vary significantly. A basic inpatient plan for one person can be as low as $54 a month. Meanwhile, the plan with the most benefits can be as expensive as $1,092 a month. The price may also vary with the inclusion of dental plans or maternal care during pregnancy.
- Hospitals: There are three government hospitals in The Bahamas: The Princess Margaret Hospital, Grand Bahama Health Service and the Sandilands Rehabilitation Center. The Public Hospitals Authority, one of the highest quality health care systems in the Caribbean area, runs them. Further, two private hospitals, JCI-accredited Doctor’s Hospital and the Lyford Cay are also in The Bahamas. Additionally, there are 55 health centers, 59 satellite clinics and 288 privately-owned institutions across the islands.
- Medical Professionals: Highly-trained health care professionals, including doctors and nurses, provide the best quality services. Many of these professionals attain their education abroad, including Europe, the United States and Canada.
- Medical Costs: Compared to the United States, the cost of medical procedures is surprisingly low. Even when people receive these procedures in a private hospital, estimates determine the cost to be 30 or even 40 percent less than in a U.S. hospital.
Typically, many view The Bahamas as simply a vacation destination with beautiful beaches. However, it is important to recognize the improvements that the Bahamian health care system has made as well. These improvements will continue to ensure a healthy and more progressive Bahamas.
– A. O’Shea