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Health News of Thursday, 10 July 2014

Source: GNA

Govt urged to save NHIS from collapse

The Universal Access to Health Care Campaign (UAHC) has urged government to consider mobilising sufficient resources to help save the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) from collapse.

The Universal Access to Health Care Campaign is a National Campaign driven by a network of Local and International Non-governmental organisations. A statement to the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday by the National Coordinator of UAHC, Sidua Hor, said the scheme is facing many challenges that called for urgent government action.

Two major service providers, Christian Health Association of Ghana and Health Insurance Service Providers Association of Ghana, had warned that they may suspend no longer provide health care services to NHIS card holders. According to Mr Hor, that is due to the inability of the National Health Insurance Authority to pay outstanding bills and economic tariffs for services rendered.

“Subscribers of NHIS…will be made to pay cash before receiving any health care,” he added. Mr Hor said: “NHIS is indebted to CHAG in excess of GH¢50 million. There are about 183 mission hospitals in the country which provide health care services to Ghanaians, especially those in deprived communities.”

He noted that the way health systems are financed is an important pre-requisite for achieving Universal Health Coverage. However, he said, the current state of funding the NHIS is not sustainable because even though majority of the funds are from the National Health Insurance Lev and 2.5 per cent of VAT on goods and services, a large number of people are unable to access NHIS because they cannot afford to pay the annual premium.

“Current enrolment rates on the NHIS stands at only 34 per cent of the population as quoted in the 2010 NHIA Annual Report.” A 2013 World Bank Report projected that Ghana’s NHIS will go bankrupt if it continues with its current funding mechanism.

Mr Hor said: "there are a lot of inefficiencies with the Scheme arising from poor payment of premium and membership card administration." The cost of claims administration is estimated to have increased by around 40 folds since 2004. Mr Hor also called on the Ministry of Health to set up adjudication committee of the NHIS to facilitate the speedy adjudication of cases among service providers, subscribers and the NHIA. This is a requirement as contained in Section 106 of Act 852.

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