NHIS one time premium on hold
Stakeholders in the health sector have recommended to the government to suspend its proposal to introduce a one-time premium payment policy for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The suspension is intended for the scheme to operate for some time while a thorough examination is done on whether or not the one-time premium is sustainable.
In a communique issued at the end of their deliberations,122 organisations and individuals operating in the sector tasked by the President to study the one-time premium policy argued that given the evidence available, the implementation of a one-time premium policy now would be premature.
‘A multi-faceted alternative revenue sourcing strategy, which is consistent with Ghana’s fiscal environment and ensures a deepening and widening of the existing funding pool, as well as stability in revenue generation, is urgently needed,’ it said.
The government was expected to implement a one-time premium policy, a key campaign promise.
The stakeholders argued that while the one-time premium had the advantage of ensuring universal coverage, it was also essential for the government to acknowledge that its implementation would further widen the funding gap and deeply erode the capacity of the NHIS to be sustainable.
Arguably, the one-time premium has been one of the controversial issues in the implementation of the NHIS, introduced in 2003 to replace the then ‘cash-and-carry system of healthcare service.
Among others, the stakeholders also called for transparency and accountability in the scheme’s revenue administration.
The NHIS is a form of health insurance, established by the government to provide equitable access to and financial coverage for basic healthcare services to Ghanaians.
It has been the system of healthcare financing in Ghana for about a decade now.
NHIS sources of funding
Funding for the NHIS comes from individual premium payments, the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) made up of the Domestic Value Added Tax (VAT) collection, transfer from the existing Social Security and National Insurance Trust, and Customs Collection. The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) was established to regulate and implement all forms of health insurance business in Ghana.
To ensure that all Ghanaians made some contribution to the scheme, a 2.5 per cent Health Insurance Levy on selected goods and services was passed into law so that the money collected could be put into a National Health Insurance Fund to complement contributions to the district health insurance schemes.
By Naa Lamiley Bentil/Daily Graphic/Ghana
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