Government changes insurance coverage for security forces to cut annual expenses by m – Eye Witness News

Government changes insurance coverage for security forces to cut annual expenses by $80m – Eye Witness News

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NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The government spends more than $80 million a year on private insurance, the majority covering people who are not employees, it was revealed yesterday, with the Department of National Security announcing that a Policy amendment that provides medical insurance coverage to dependents of security branch members will go into effect July 1.

In a statement yesterday, the Department of National Security acknowledged concerns raised by the public regarding the recent Cabinet decision (ICO 15 (23) 20) approving a policy amendment that provides medical insurance coverage to persons at the expense of members of the security services.

“Effective July 1, 2023, the policy will only provide medical insurance coverage to employees, while allowing dependent coverage at the expense of employees. We would like to clarify that the new policy will not apply to officers hired before July 1, 2023. This decision was taken after careful consideration of the financial implications on the government budget,” the ministry said.

He added: “The government currently spends over $80 million a year on private insurance, with the majority covering people who are not employees. This amendment aligns with policies adopted by many large private and public sector organizations. It aims to ensure the long-term sustainability of the medical insurance program while maintaining the necessary support for members of our safety branch. We have taken great care to balance financial responsibility with the well-being and protection of our dedicated law enforcement personnel. We recognize the sacrifices and dedication of our law enforcement officers who stand on the front lines on behalf of the Bahamian people. We are committed to ensuring that all law enforcement officers have health insurance medical coverage.

Yesterday FNM deputy leader and St Barnabas MP Shanendon Cartwright called the cut in benefits ‘shameful and heartless’.

“The government’s announcement of cuts to insurance benefits for men and women in the security services from July 1, 2023 is callous, unconscionable and a betrayal. Thousands of Bahamian men and women in the spirit of national service, patriotism and love of country enlist in our security services,” Cartwright said.

He continued, “They put their lives in the daily service and protection of our nation and the people of the Bahamas. Their dedication to a call to national service often comes at great cost to their families and loved ones. Additionally, this new policy would discourage other young Bahamian men and women from joining our security services. That the government announces the same week its intention to build a $100 million correctional facility, but to reduce the benefits of our security services, is mind-boggling and confusing. Even more myopic, this government’s policy is being pushed as crime continues to wreak havoc on our streets with 44 murders already this year, and our immigration crisis shows no signs of letting up.

Cartwright called on the government to reassess what he described as a callous and heartless policy. “The men and women of our security branches deserve our protection, our support and our loyalty. They deserve a government that cares about us,” he said.

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