Health insurance is victim of its own success – NHIA boss

Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Sylvester Mensah, says the rapid growth in active membership of the scheme, couple with its attractive benefit packages threatens its financial sustainability in the short term.

Speaking at an international forum on Universal Health Care (UHC) in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday, Mr Mensah also noted that NHIS has become a victim of its own success due in part to corruption.

Under the theme ‘Coverage Expansion of Informal Sector: The Missing Middle’, the conference sought to understand the current status and challenges the world faces in the path to achieving UHC, by sharing the experiences of various countries, including Ghana, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Mongolia, and Philippine, among others, that have developed unique approaches for UHC.

He told participating countries that given another opportunity to establish a National Health Insurance Scheme he would at the outset advocate for a relatively modest benefit package, instant issuance of ID cards based on biometric data, and capitation as the primary provider payment method, among others.

Mr Mensah notes that Ghana has succeeded in reducing the cash-and-carry system in health care delivery through enrolment in the scheme.

He however acknowledged that recording significant growth in core indicators such as number of enrolement alone is not enough, as sustaining it could even be more challenging.

Currently, the NHIS contributes over 85% of internally-generated funds of many healthcare facilities in Ghana.

Delays in payment to service providers by NHIA means providers are forced to pre-finance health care delivery, with the inherent challenge of abuse and poor healthcare delivery.

The conference brought together experts and policy makers from various countries throughout the world to deliberate on the WHO post 2015 agenda of global health coverage issues with universal financial risk protection in sharp focus.

The World Bank, WHO, health policy experts, academia, health insurance technocrats and health policy makers from over 20 countries were in attendance.

On Tuesday June 10, 2014, under the auspices of KOFIH, the Ghana- South Korea collaboration for knowledge and experience sharing was extended to a tripartite arrangement with the inclusion of Ethiopia.

KOFIH is a specialized organization under the Ministry of Health and Welfare of the Republic of Korea which was established to promote international cooperation and provide assistance in the health sector for developing countries.

The dialogue session which is on-going ends on Friday June 13, 2014

  Story by Ghana | | George Nyavor | [email protected]

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