Health News of Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Source: Edward Smith-GhanaWeb
The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has indicated that cleaning up data and using internationally-accepted methodologies are just a few of the many strategic initiatives that have been undertaken in the last few years to take the scheme to the next level and make it more relevant.
In this regard, the NHIA has since 2009/2010 discouraged the use of misleading cumulative and erroneous active membership figures that over-estimated the membership base in the past.
Speaking in an interview with GhanaWeb on the state of the NHIS, the Communication Manager of the NHIA, Dr. Nii Anang Adjetey, said the Authority is currently leveraging its ICT platform to generate data on its active membership based on globally-acceptable definitions and indicators to give the true picture of membership.
He indicated that the old methodology was characterized by manual non-standard estimation of membership, double- and triple-counted membership - both alive and dead. He said “developing proper strategies for a reputable institution like the NHIS depends on good and reliable data, hence the need to adopt best practice in data reporting”.
When asked to comment on suggestions that membership of NHIS is declining, Dr. Adjetey stated that if the scheme were currently going by the old unreliable cumulative reporting, membership would be about 13 million in 2008 and 15 million in 2009, and about 18 million in 2010.
Also, going by the erroneous and unreliable membership figures of the past, active membership would have been over 9 million in 2008 and over 17 million in 2011. It is therefore misleading to compare the new methodology active membership figure of over 8 million to the old methodology figure of 9 million. “Its like comparing apples and pineapples just because they both have the word apple in them”.
Indeed, checks made by the Ghanaweb revealed that the figures are indicated on page 16 of the 2010 NHIS annual report. The table makes a clear distinction between an old methodology and a new methodology. This new methodology took effect from 2010 for which there were no comparable figures for the past.
Above the table there is an explanation for adopting the new methodology and just below the table, there is a clear statement that the 2010 active membership figure does not necessarily represent a drop.
Before 2010, there was an increase in active membership – based on the old methodology – from 9,914,256 in 2008 to 10,638,119 in 2009.