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Government must save NHIS from collapsing - UAHC

Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com
Date: 10-07-2014 Time: 10:07:11:am
The Universal Access to Health Care Campaign (UAHC) has called on government, as a matter of urgency, to mobilize resources to help save the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) from total collapse.
In a press release, the National Coordinator of UAHC, Sidua Hor noted that, though the NHIS was introduced to ensure access and affordability to health care in Ghana, the Scheme is currently facing a lot of challenges which have rendered the NHIS ineffective and government must act fast to safe the Scheme.
Two major service providers, Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) and Health Insurance Service Providers Association of Ghana (HISPAG), with effect from July 2, 2014 will no longer provide health care services to NHIS card holders. This is due to the inability of the National Health Insurance Authority to pay outstanding bills and economic tariffs for services rendered.
Subscribers of NHIS, according to the service providers would be made to pay cash before receiving any health care. CHAG is quoted as saying that “NHIS is indebted to CHAG in excess of GH¢50 million. There are about 183 mission hospitals in the country which provides health care services to Ghanaians especially those in deprived communities”.
Sidua Hor noted that the way health systems are financed is an important pre-requisite for achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as this determines the availability and affordability of quality health care services.
He added that, NHIS' current means of funding is not sustainable. This is because, even though, majority of the funds are from the NHIL which is 2.5% of VAT on goods and services, a large number of Ghanaians are unable to access NHIS because they are unable to pay the annual premium. Current enrolment rates on the NHIS stand at only 34% of the Population (2010 NHIA Annual Report). A 2013 World Bank Report projected that Ghana’s NHIS will go bankrupt if it continues with its currently 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 is estimated to have increased by around 40 folds since 2004.
Mr. Hor added his voice to demands by CHAG and HISPAG for the Ministry of Health to set up the 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, he said.

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