A Better Health Partnership FAQs

Marking the first step of a plan to positively impact Bermuda’s healthcare system, Argus acquired Island Health Services and the Family Practice Group on June 30, 2020. While insurer-owned healthcare facilities have been long-established in many countries worldwide, we understand this is a new healthcare partnership for Bermuda and that the community has many questions, which we hope to answer below.


Why did we do this?     

This partnership is part of a larger strategy to drive up quality of healthcare while driving down costs. While it was an informed business decision in line with our goal to diversify operations, more importantly, this investment is aligned to our values. We are proud to be investing in the future of Bermuda’s healthcare for the interest of all.

For 70 years, Argus has been a leader and innovator in the health and wellness space. We have a history of partnering with leading medical professionals to improve healthcare in Bermuda, such as our innovative population health-and-wellness initiative with Johns Hopkins International. This is yet another example of our long-term commitment to find solutions to healthcare challenges in Bermuda.

Ultimately, both Argus and the primary care doctors want the same thing: quality, affordable healthcare. Instead of working in silos, we joined forces to accomplish this together. This new partnership will focus on making people healthier through preventative and coordinated health care – rather than solely treating illness – and making quality care more affordable.


How is this going to affect Argus members and patients of the practices?     

Immediately, it’s business as usual, no change. However, in the coming months, you will see changes designed to improve the services of the partnership and more details will be shared as they become available. At the heart of this alliance is an agreement that patients will remain top priority. We will continue to provide them with the best possible care with the support of all our trusted staff. We are committed to achieving better health outcomes, benefitting not only our patients but Bermuda as a whole.


Will patients still be able to choose which doctor they see?

Yes, patients will still be able to see their preferred doctor at the practice of their choice, just as they have done in the past. 


Will costs change?

Argus and non-Argus-insured customers will see no change in cost in the immediate future. However, our primary objective is to improve care to create better health outcomes which, if achieved, will inevitably lead to lower costs. Over the coming months, we will also be working on ways to pass efficiencies on to our members.


Is it legal for a health insurance company to own a doctors’ office?

Yes. Argus is, and always will be, compliant with all the necessary laws and regulations required in all the jurisdictions in which we operate. All mandatory external bodies were notified of this acquisition. While this type of acquisition is new to Bermuda, insurer-owned healthcare facilities have long been adopted across many countries worldwide.


Is it a conflict of interest for a health insurance company to own a doctor’s office?

No. On the contrary, there is an alignment of interests in having healthier patients and insureds. The doctors will continue to provide the best care possible for their patients. That's their job.

Argus will continue to pay claims as is laid out in members’ policies and promote healthy lifestyle choices. That's our job. We pledge to drive openness and transparency in the way we operate – we want to ensure that patients and health members have the best available information to make informed choices about their health and wellness.


Will non-Argus customers’ data be shared with Argus?

Argus will not have access to patients’ data. We will only have access to what is typically shared when the patient or doctor submits a claim and only if you are insured with Argus. There will continue to be rigorous separation between health provider and insurer in this regard. 


What happens next?

The medical practices will continue to operate as usual and strategies designed to improve services and reduce costs will be announced in the coming months. We have a clear vision of a better future, which requires commitment and a team-oriented approach to patient care, where insurer and care providers work hand-in-hand to deliver the best health outcomes possible. A successful business can do more to help more people and we promise to use our strengths to improve Bermuda’s healthcare system, positively impacting the health outcomes of the entire community, no matter their insurance provider.

If you have questions or would like to learn more please email betterhealth@argus.bm

DISCLAIMER: The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.