National Health Insurance chalks success

National Health Insurance SchemeGhana’s National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has stood out as the only one to cover both the formal and informal sectors, an official of the Scheme has said.

Many have been limited to the formal sector, Mr Mawuko Tsigbey, Ho Municipal Manager of the NHIS, said when briefing the Ghana News Agency on the evolution of the NHIS which is 10 years this year.

He said in 2010, the Scheme won the United Nations Excellence Award for its ability to provide Social Health Insurance for the citizenry.

Mr Tsigbey said the novelty of Ghana’s NHIS had attracted international attention with South Africa, Kenya, South Korea, Cameroun, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Zambia understudying it.

He said 70 percent of those covered under the NHIS did not pay premiums and this constituted only five percent of revenue to the Scheme.

Mr Tsigbey said 50 percent of this category of people are children under 18 years with the remaining being pregnant women, adults who are 70 years and above, as well as SSNIT contributors.

The financial backbone of the NHIS is made up of two-and-half percent Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) deductions, two-and-half percent NHIS levy on selected goods and services under the Value Added Tax, funds from government and donors allocated by Parliament and returns from investment.

Mr Tsigbey said the NHIS had undergone transformation from being autonomous mutual schemes with disparate management structures under Act 650 at its inception in 2003 into a well structured Universal National Scheme under Act 852.

He said the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) had been doing tremendous work to transform the NHIS into a solid and professionally managed and functional health insurance entity despite many challenges.

Mr Tsigbey said the NHIS had become the backbone of the country’s health service, contributing about 85 percent of their financial resources.

He said some challenges confronting the NHIS were “adverse selection”; where people waited until they were sick before rushing to register or renew their membership, identification of indigents and unauthorized co-payment.

Mr Tsigbey assured that the NHIA would be rolling out many more far-reaching innovations in its efforts to improve service delivery to its members. GNA

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