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Health News of Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Source: The Finder

Government owes NHIA ?205m

Government owes the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) ?205.12 million in arrears for 2014.

The money was collected as National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) and Social Security and National In­surance Trust (SSNIT) contribution, but was not paid to NHIA fond.

This is contained in a document, ‘NHIA financial allocation formula for 2015,' which has been approved by Parliament.

According to the report, government collected ?936.12 million NHIL and SSNIT contribution on behalf of the NHIA in 2014.

However, government released ?731million out of the ?936.12 million collected to the NHIA, result­ing in arrears of ?205.12 million.

As of March 2015, the claims indebtedness for 2014, which is the amount NHIA owes to service providers, stood at GHC456.4 mil­lion.

According to the document, for 2015, the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) projects to realise a total of ?1,185.67 million from NHIL and SSNIT levies.

On May 4, 2015, government directed the release of ?180 million for the payment of arrears owed health insurance providers.

The money is expected to clear part of the more than ?456.4 mil­lion owed National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) service providers across the country.

The NHIS owes service providers arrears covering six to eight months.

The Threats

Since last year, service providers under the NHIS have been threaten­ing to return to the 'cash-and-carry' system due to huge sums of arrears owed them.

According to them, the delay in the payment of claims was largely compromising the provision of quality healthcare across the country.

On February 13, this year, hospitals in the Volta Region threatened to return to the 'cash-and-carry' system if the NHIA did not pay money owed them within 30 days.

Again, on February 27, the Upper East Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) hinted that the 'cash-and-carry' system was looming in the region, and warned that hospitals would have no option but revert to the system in providing healthcare for their clients if the NHIA failed to settle its arrears.

Withdrawals

On July 1, 2014, the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG), which has 183 mission hos­pitals in the country, withdrew its services to subscribers of the NHIS because managers of the scheme owed mission hospitals ? 50 mil­lion.

The Ghana Chamber of Pharmacies also nearly stopped the supply of medicines to health facilities that de­pended on the NHIS to pay for their medicines.

While the GHS issued a threat to suspend the issuance of medicines to NHIS subscribers, NHIS hospital have also had to offer essential drugs on 'cash-and-carry' basis due to the debt margins.

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