A volunteer going through the registration process for the new NHIS biometric card
The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has introduced an upgraded version of their membership identification card to help resolve the challenges facing the scheme and improve its efficiency.
The new instant biometric membership card which the authority had begun rolling out in the Greater Accra, Central and Eastern regions is expected to lead to an improved healthcare experience for National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) members.
Perry Nelson, Director of Management Information Systems (MIS) at the NHIA, taking the media through the issuance of the new cards said the biometric card which is issued to subscribers instantly upon registration, comes with a memory chip which allows for securing the card from unauthorised access.
He said the new cards would also enhance data credibility, ensure cleaner data and help avoid the duplication of subscribers’ records.
‘The instant biometric membership ID card initiative is expected to make authentication of both ID card and its bearer at the point of healthcare service delivery,’ he said.
Mr Nelson said the biometric ID would address issues of data integrity, authentication of subscriber by healthcare providers, ID card production delays, difficulties in ID cards distribution to subscribers and the inability to link subscriber hospital attendance to claims forms and multiple registrations in the members’ database.
Nathaniel Otoo, Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Operations, per the estimation of the authority, said all districts in the three regions would be covered after which the exercise would be extended to the Ashanti Region.
‘It is a gradual nationwide scale-up so we are taking one region at a time. By the roll out plan and progress made so far, we are confident the whole country will be covered by the close of the year, 2014,’ he said.
He said citizens including legally registered foreigners in the country could register so long as they lived within any of the regions covered by the new biometric system.
‘However, we advise that only those whose cards are near their expiry dates or first time subscribers should visit the centres because there is no rush once your card is not near its expiry date,’ he said.
He said the old cards were still valid as the new biometric ones as healthcare providers and facilities were accepting both the old and the new cards until the old ones gradually phased out of the system.
Mr Otoo observed that the authority was impressed with the turn-out so far, indicating that measures have been put in place to address the high turn-out numbers at the centres.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri
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