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Government to organise national stakeholders’ forum on health insurance

By
Benjamin Mensah, GNA

Accra, July 4, GNA – The Government is to hold
a national stakeholders forum to find sustained solutions to the National
Health Insurance Scheme, Mr Kwaku Agyemang- Manu Minister of Health has
announced.

“It’s our priority now to do what we can do
best to see what solutions we can bring on,”’ the Minister assured the House
and the nation on Tuesday, as he wrapped up on the debate on the motion to
approve the National Health Insurance Fund Allocation Formula for 2017.

The House approved the formula for the
distribution for the year 2017.

The object of the National Health Insurance
Authority under Act 852 is to attain universal health Insurance Coverage in
relation to persons resident in Ghana, and non-residents visiting Ghana, and to
provide access to health care services to the persons covered by the Scheme.

Section 39 of ACT 852 established the National
Health Insurance Fund and the object of the Fund was to pay for the health care
services for members of National Health Insurance Scheme. (NHIS).

One of the main challenges of the scheme is
the funding gap receipts and expenditures, and it is expected that participants
at the forum would make recommendations on how to rake in funds to sustain the
scheme.

A dossier on the Formula made available in
Parliament said the strategic intent of the Authority as captured in the Medium
Term Strategic Plan  2015-2018 was to
consolidate the position of the NHIS as preferred financing mechanism for
reducing financial barriers to health care in Ghana through a social health
insurance scheme.

Some key programmes and activities planned for
2017 are to adopt pragmatic strategies to increase active membership coverage
of the scheme from 39 per cent in 2016 to 41 per cent of the projected
population of 28.4 million. The active membership in 2017 is therefore
projected at 11.6 million.

Having completed a pilot of a claims vetting
and submission application called “Claim It”, full implementation of the
application is expected it to take place in 2017.

“In 2017, we intend to extend the education
and preparatory work for the roll out of the per capita payment module to six
of the remaining regions, namely Brong Ahafo, Western, Eastern, Central,
Greater Accra and Northern Region,” said the document, which also added that
“the Authority would intensify claims verifications and clinical audit of
provider claims.

“In 2017, we plan to audit 15 per cent of the
total facilities.”

The Authority has also planned to continue to
collaborate with the MOH to review the system for pharmaceutical product
supply.

Total receipts of GH¢1,237.24 were collected
by the Ministry of Finance for the year ending December 31, 2016 and total
payments for the year ending December 31 2016 was GH¢ 1,221.23 million.

Last week, the Minority in Parliament called
for the immediate withdrawal of the proposed 2017 National Health Insurance
Authority (NHIA) formula from the Floor of Parliament.

In the Minority’s view, the proposed NHIA Fund
formula in its present state is at variance with the National Health Insurance
Act, 2012, Act 852, since there has been no Board approval to that effect.

Per Section 42 of Act 852, the formula is to
be presented to the House after the Board of the NHIA had considered and
approved it.

The proposed formula for the disbursement of
the Fund was laid before Parliament on June 20, 2017, and referred to the
Parliament’s Health Committee.

The Minority also said it “will not accept any
referral from the National Health Insurance Authority and the Ministry of
Health on same until a governing board had been properly and duly inaugurated.”

However, the Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia
at the week-end inaugurated the newly constituted 17-member Board of Directors
of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and charged them to
resuscitate the scheme.

He said the scheme was at a critical stage and
needed the full expertise of the Board to improve.

“There is so much we want to do within a
limited budget. You will be responsible for leading the policy direction and
advising government so that we can take the decisions that will fundamentally
improve the NHIS. [It] is struggling and we got to prevent this steady creepy
towards cash and carry and resuscitate the scheme. You got to put together your
minds [and] efforts so that we work in partnership to rescue this scheme, to
resuscitate it, to improve it and make it benefit the masses of our people.”

GNA

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