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General News of Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Source: GNA

NHIS to register negative balance - Mettle-Nunoo

Accra, March 3, GNA - The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) would experience a negative balance in 2010, with expenditure exceeding revenue without the introduction of one-time premium payment, Mr Kojo Mettle-Nunoo, Deputy Minister of Health, told Parliament on Wednesday.

He said an actuarial analysis that took into consideration the inclusion of the Military and Police Services on the NHIS showed that the reserves of the scheme would be quickly used up in subsequent years and get depleted in 2016.

Mr Mettle-Nunoo said an actuarially determined one-time-premium, based on the current premiums, would give rise to amounts beyond the pockets of most Ghanaians, adding that a one-time premium payment within the reach of most Ghanaians would result in the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) reserves getting depleted one year earlier than anticipated - 2015. He said the analysis grouped contributors in the formal sector into different age groups. Those between 18 years and 29 years would pay 678 Ghana Cedis; 30 years and 49 years would pay 587 Ghana Cedis; 50 years and 59 years would pay 355 Ghana Cedis and 60 years and above would pay 214 Ghana Cedis. Those in the informal sector would pay 50 Ghana Cedis. Mr Mettle-Nunoo said the Ministry was undertaking reform programmes to pave the way for the implementation of the one-time premium payment. These include improving the use of standard treatment guidelines and rational prescription by service providers to reduce cost of treatment. It is improving the logistic management system in the sector to bring down the cost of inputs such as medicines and consumables and reforming the claims management process to reduce connivance and wastage from lack of capacity.

Mr Mettle-Nunoo said the Ministry would undertake legal review aimed at improving efficiency and reducing cost, adding that it was also exploring sources of additional funding to further build up the NHIF reserves and make the NHIS sustainable even after the introduction of one-time premium payment. He said such new sources would be proposed to Government and Parliament for consideration. BDB