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Historical Overview

The Medical Benefit Scheme (MBS) operates for the purpose of providing financial and other assistance towards the cost of medical services in Antigua and Barbuda. Established under the Act, Cap 271, of the Laws of Antigua and Barbuda, MBS was originally designed to assist beneficiaries, particularly those suffering from certain chronic disease. In 1998, the Act was amended to expand the scope of MBS and in 2010 a new Medical Benefits Act was passed by Parliament. The following year, the Medical Benefits Regulation, 2011 came into effect. Section 26 of the Medical Benefits Act details the application of revenue (the Scheme).

Section 26
Applications of Revenue

  1. The revenue of the Scheme for any financial year shall be applied in defraying the following commitments—
    1. the payment of benefits;
    2. the salaries, fees, stipends, remuneration and gratuities of the officers, and employees, and technical and other advisers, of the Board including payments for the maintenance of the Pension Scheme established under section 22;
    3. programmes and activities geared to promote and maintain good health; and
    4. any other expenditure authorised by the Board and properly chargeable to the revenue account;
  2. The commitments described at (a), (c) and (d) shall be subject to actuarial recommendation in accordance with section 60.
  3. The Minister, on the advice of the Board, may make Regulations for the apportionment and allocation of contributions in respect of the various commitments of the Board.

The Scheme is currently funded by 3.5% contributions deducted from the earnings of insured persons and matched by an equal amount by the employers.

For purposes of determining deductions of contributions, the following must be taken into consideration:
  • Overtime payment
  • Cost of living bonus
  • Additional payments for dependants
  • Supplements for long service industry or efficiency
  • Commission or profit on sales
  • Gratuities paid by the employer
  • Payment for night or shift work
  • Production bonus
  • Danger or dirt money or similar payments
  • Service charges
  • Any employee's liabilities (including tax) paid on his/her behalf by the employer
  • Holiday pay or other amounts set aside out of the employed person's remuneration throughout the year or part of the year to be paid to him/her periodically.

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