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General News of Thursday, 5 September 2013

Source: National Health Insurance Authority

NHIS is ten years old

On September 05, 2003, exactly ten years ago, following a series of pilots in selected districts, the National Health Insurance Scheme was born. On this day, the National Health Insurance Act, 2003, (Act 650) was signed into law. This law gave legal basis to the establishment of the NHIS to provide financial risk protection against the cost of quality basic healthcare for all residents in Ghana.

Since its introduction, the NHIS has grown to become a major instrument for financing health care delivery in Ghana. About 85% of all internally generated funds (IGF) of all government and missionary health institutions now come from the NHIS. The Scheme which currently caters for about 9 million subscribers, engages with more than 3,200 healthcare service providers and offers a generous Benefit Package that covers about 95% of disease conditions in Ghana. The Scheme presently provides premium-free healthcare for nearly 70% of its total registered membership, underscoring its social protection credentials. It is credited with improvements in the healthcare-seeking behaviour of many people who now tend to seek medical attention earlier than before, thereby avoiding unnecessary deterioration in their condition.

The NHIS has grown exponentially from a small membership base of a little over 1million subscribers at inception, to nearly 9 million active members in 2012. The increases in membership and utilization of healthcare services underscore the scheme’s popularity and significance.

In the relatively short period of its implementation, the NHIS has gained international recognition and acclaim, culminating in the UN Award for Excellence and Leadership in November 2010.

Though the Scheme has encountered a number of challenges in the last decade, as the case is with every institution, it may be said that the past has been groundbreaking, the present engaging but the future is bright and promising as the Scheme gears towards universal coverage and further improvements. In commemoration of the 10th anniversary, the NHIA has put together a series of activities over a two month period to reflect on the past and chart a new way forward for the future. Among others, this will include anniversary lectures, an international conference and an inter-schools quiz competition to deepen awareness of the NHIS. The 10th anniversary commemoration which is under the theme, Towards Universal Health Coverage: Increasing Enrolment whilst Ensuring Sustainability, coincides with the implementation of the new law, The National Health Insurance Act, 2012, (Act 852) which enjoyed bi-partisan support in its passage. The new law amongst others creates a unitary scheme and ensures greater efficiency in the operations of the NHIS.

On this occasion, the NHIS wishes to acknowledge the contribution of all Ghanaians particularly subscribers, past and present administrators of the Scheme, service providers and Development Partners for their contribution in various ways in bringing the Scheme this far and looks forward to further cooperation to take the NHIS to the next level.

Issued by: Corporate Affairs Directorate, National Health Insurance Authority, Accra.