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Service Providers suggest NHIS sustainability measures

July 18, 2018, 11:25 a.m.

The Health Insurance Service Providers Association of Ghana (HISPAG) says the sustainability of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) remains shaky in view of the high level of indebtedness.

Speaking at a media conference on Monday, Mr Frank Richard Torblu, the Executive Director of HISPAG, said there was the urgent need to delink the scheme from politics and allow the technocrats to find innovative ways to effectively manage and sustain the scheme.

He said this was necessary to win confidence of well-meaning Ghanaians in the scheme.

Mr Torblu said the politicisation of the Scheme over the years had created a difficult management environment for the technocrats to apply prudent and efficient economic management practices to ensure effective governance and sustainability.

“I encourage all Ghanaians to jealously guard and guide it [the NHIS] to ensure its sustainability since posterity would not forgive any group of people or individual whose actions or inactions are geared towards its [NHIS’] destruction,” he said.

On financing of the Scheme, the Executive Director of HISPAG said the current sources could not support the existing claims presented by the providers to the NHIS.

The current sources were National Health Insurance levy, 2.5 per cent of Social Security National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contribution, premium, donor funding and returns on investment. 

He noted that while on the average, a person pays a premium of GH¢ 30.00, the Scheme pays an average claims of GH¢ 75.00.

This, he said, has created a financing gap of not less than GH¢450million represented as GH¢ 45.00 per utilisation and an average utilisation of 10 million insured clients of the NHIS.

Mr Torblu said if stringent measures were not taken to introduce some other funding sources, the indebtedness of the NHIS to providers, which he said was GH¢715million, would swallow the Scheme leading to its collapse latest by ending of next year.

“We, therefore, suggest to the Cabinet and the Government of Nana Akufo-Addo to heed to the call of setting aside one per cent of the petroleum revenue to support the operations of the NHIS,” he said.

He also called on the President to uphold the proposal from the management of the Scheme to save it from total collapse. 

He said the NHIS was on the verge of collapse because the providers were making loses to the extent that some were unable to buy essential drugs anymore, pay utilities timely, and other administrative expenses.

Mr Torblu said there was the need to adhere to the period for review for the Scheme as it had not been so thereby making prices at which services were provided outdated.

He called on the former Presidents of the Republic to add their voices to setting aside of one per cent of petroleum revenue as an additional funding sources to the scheme and also the total removal of political colouring and inclination of the Scheme.