Grand Bahama Minister Urges Residents to Apply for NIB Smart Card

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Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville holds up a new NIB smart card. He is encouraging all residents on Grand Bahama, and indeed throughout the country to register for the NIB card. Left to right in the photo are: Rosetta Booth, Chief Operation Manager at NIB’s Freeport office; Cecile Williams-Bethel, Senior Deputy Director of Operations, NIB; Dr. Darville; and Melvin Seymour, Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Grand Bahama. (BIS Photo/Vandyke Hepburn)
Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville holds up a new NIB smart card. He is encouraging all residents on Grand Bahama, and indeed throughout the country to register for the NIB card. Left to right in the photo are: Rosetta Booth, Chief Operation Manager at NIB’s Freeport office; Cecile Williams-Bethel, Senior Deputy Director of Operations, NIB; Dr. Darville; and Melvin Seymour, Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Grand Bahama. (BIS Photo/Vandyke Hepburn)

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville, while touching on the advent of National Health Insurance on Friday, urged residents to get their new NIB card.

Minister Darville teamed with senior officials of the National Insurance Board to announce NIB’s Registration Drive for Grand Bahama.

Speaking at a press conference in his office at the Harold DeGregory Complex Friday afternoon, the Minister said that he was pleased to announce NIB’s enhanced registration drive for Grand Bahama.

He explained that the Government of The Bahamas intends to begin the phased implementation of its progressive National Health Insurance plan in January 2016, and that the National Insurance Board will facilitate the registration for coverage under NHI.

“In order to establish that you have coverage, it is crucial that all Bahamian citizens and legal residents have the new NIB Smart Card,” he stated.

According to Dr. Darville as of December 2, 2015, more than 29,000 new NIB cards have been issued on Grand Bahama, and an estimated 25,000 persons on the island still do not have the Smart Card.

“It is NIB’s goal to distribute most of the state-of-the-art cards in the first quarter of 2016. Therefore, NIB will begin its enhanced registration campaign on January 18, 2016 in an effort to complete the registration of persons without the essential card.

“In addition to being an important tool for those persons eligible for National Health Insurance, the new card, which was launched in early 2014, is a major deterrent to cases of fraud and also better facilitates the conduct of business with NIB,” the Minister explained.

Further, he advised that registration centres will be set up in strategic locations throughout Grand Bahama while mobile units will cater to the business community including government ministries and schools.

“As The Bahamas begins its transition into an NHI environment, I cannot stress enough the importance or registering for the new NIB card,” he stated.

Mrs. Cecile Williams-Bethel, Senior Deputy Director of Operations at the National Insurance Board confirmed that beginning Monday, January 18, 2016 they will intensify the registration process through an enhancement of their services and an extension of their operating hours at each of their four locations throughout Grand Bahama.

Office hours at the Freeport Office complex and the Eight Mile Rock sub-office will be extended weekdays until 7:00 p.m., in addition to adding a 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. Saturday opportunity for registration. Further, the West End and High Rock local offices will be opened daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Additionally, on-site visits to businesses and organizations with a staff compliment of at least 50 persons will be facilitated through the establishment of two mobile units. The mobile units will also be responsible for facilitating the registration process at all schools according to Mrs. Bethel.

She likewise informed that all entities using the mobile service will be required to complete and submit the registration application form and supporting documents at least two weeks before the visit by NIB’s mobile team.

“Photographs and signatures will be captured on-site and the cards will be delivered one week after registration,” she stated.

Mrs. Bethel also mentioned that children who are not of school age will need to accompany their parents to any of the local offices to be registered.

“In addition to registering or updating their information in our database, NIB is encouraging all of our registrants to provide us with an email address so that they can take advantage of our Registrant Self-Service portal that allows them online access to their NIB information,” she said.

NIB expects to complete this registration process by the end of March 2016.

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