Health Insurance is mandatory – Sylvester Mensah
The Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority Sylvester Mensah has said, the National Health Insurance Law (Act 852) makes it mandatory for all Ghanaians to enrol unto the health insurance scheme.
This, he says, is premised on the basic principles of insurance related to solidarity and risk, to ensure that enough resources are pooled to sustain the system and ensure efficiency.
Speaking on “Tarzan’s Take” on JoyNews on MultiTV, he said, he hopes the new system of biometric registration, currently being rolled out on pilot basis, will be completed by middle of next year across the country. Existing non-biometric cards currently in use would still be valid to be used alongside the biometric ones. The non-biometric cards, according Sylvester Mensah, can be replaced by biometric cards when they expire and are due for renewal.
He mentioned the Ghana health service reports of 2010 to 2012 that reveals over 85% of internally generated funds were derived from NHIS payment, a trend that currently indicates an increase in NHIS utilization.
The introduction of free maternal care, according the NHIA boss, has been largely responsible for the rise in utilization and access of NHIS.
According to him, in 2012, utilization rose to between 22-23 million, against an initial 2.6 million in 2005 when the scheme was introduced as a universal healthcare insurance scheme.
Active membership currently stands at 9million, representing 36 percent of coverage. Sylvester Mensah said, significant progress has been made in abolishing the cash and carry system of healthcare delivery.
To avoid adverse selection, he said, mechanisms have been put in place to ensure back-to-back renewals of cards.
NHIS cards, from next year, are to be presented when applying for passports, driving licences, opening a bank account or other social services.
He also disclosed that service providers are to be paid all arrears on their claims for April and May this year, and currently work is in progress for June payments. Mr. Mensah debunked claims that the NHIS is in a – 9 month arrears to service providers, which is giving rise to a return to the “cash and carry system”.
He apologised to providers across the country for delays in payments and assured that work is in progress to close all gaps
Slyvester Mensah who was on the show with Prof. Frimpong Boateng, Former CEO of the Cardiothoracic Centre of Korlebu, told host Dr. Charles Wireko Brobbey that, the 10th Anniversary is not a celebration but a time to commemorate a decade of the service, taking stock of the past and current and re-strategising for the future.
He said, It is also to place health insurance in the hearts and minds of Ghanaians and also to generate greater awareness about the scheme and an international dialogue forum to exchange ideas and experiences in redefining the future.
With regards to access to the rural poor, the NHIS Boss said the scheme has a structure that makes penetration to rural areas easier through the district, municipal and metropolitan mutual health schemes.
In the past cards acquired from mutual schemes were only applicable in the particular districts where the holder got them. But with the introduction of the universal cards, holders are now able to access healthcare even out of their districts.
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