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Regional News of Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Source: GNA

Report illegal service charges to us – NHIA

The National Health Insurance Scheme The National Health Insurance Scheme

The Acting Upper East Regional Director of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Kasimu Abudulai has entreated clients to report illegal service charges by health service providers to the Authority for action.

He noted that “The issue of illegal charges is still on, and we are closely monitoring and working with our service providers to see how we can surmount the challenge and reduce such acts to minimum levels.

“We are also encouraging clients to report to us with evidence when they are given such charges. While we are monitoring, we may not see some of the acts, but you the clients suffer it,” he said.

Mr. Abudulai, who expressed concern about illegal NHIS service charges in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga, capital of the Upper East Region, said with the involvement of clients, such illegal charges would be eliminated.

He said there was a marginal increase in active membership from 682,334 representing 51.7 percent of the population of the Region in the first half of 2020 to 697,924, representing 52 percent of the population in the first half of 2021.

This, he said could be attributed to the illegal charges by service providers, “People think because they paid some monies at hospitals, the National Health Insurance system is not working, therefore, they are not encouraged to renew.”

Mr. Abudulai noted that service providers initially complained that the Authority owned them so much money, and so they had no requisite cash flow to operate.

He explained that “A lot of improvements have happened in clearing the arrears. So much has been paid, so the number of months in arrears is now minimal. We are in August now, if we owe, it will even be four months of indebtedness, so the number of months in arrears has dwindled so much,” Mr. Abudulai said.

The Acting Director noted that in spite of the improvement, the illegal charges were still ongoing in some health facilities across the region, and reiterated the need for clients to report such acts for the appropriate action to be taken.

Mr. Abudulai also attributed the marginal increase to mobile network challenges, “We go to the field, we can’t operate because the network is down. When people are disappointed on two or three occasions, they lose interest in renewing or even registering onto the scheme.”

He added that the intermittent shortage of consumables, coupled with obsolete and weak equipment also accounted for the marginal increase as some of the equipment frequently broke down.

Mr. Abudulai added that the first quarter of the year usually had low turnout, while the third to last quarters were their bumper season, saying “That is when crops are harvested, farm work reduces and people are available. So usually we get higher turnouts during the last two quarters.”

He was hopeful that before the end of December this 2021, they would possibly increase the 697,924 mid-year figure to about 900,000 or 1,000,000 of the population in the Region.