The Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Mr. Sylvester Mensah, has stated in clear terms that the scheme is healthier today than it was in December 2008.
Speaking at Citi FM�s roundtable discussion on the topic: �Health Agenda for Elections 2012�, Mr. Mensah said: �We are discussing health insurance at a time when under five years mortality rate has improved, at the time when maternal mortality rate has improved, at the time when life expectancy has improved and also at the time when OPD [Out Patient Department] attendance in the country has improved from less than 45% in 2008 to 82.2% in 2011 as revealed by the Ghana Health Service annual report for 2011.�
He said: �We are again discussing health insurance at a time when health insurance has been awarded globally; has earned an international award for global excellence, for financial risk protection, leadership, innovation, creativity and for providing new insights and initiatives that are scalable and also for providing a base for knowledge sharing.�
�We are discussing health insurance today when Ghana�s NHIS is currently one of the leading models in the world. You cannot talk about health insurance today without mention of Ghana�s model.�
�It is important to depoliticise health insurance as a social protection policy, and it is becoming increasingly worrying at the rate at which health insurance has become a political punching bag,� Mr. Mensah admonished.
According to the CEO of NHIS, �health insurance provides for and exempts children under 18 years from the payment of premium. Since 2009 children have been decoupled from their parents and children have independent access to healthcare without recourse to their parents.�
Mr. Mensah in outlining the future of the health insurance scheme said �we are looking at including prostate cancer in our benefit package going forward from January 2013 onwards. The new law also provides for the inclusion of the physically challenged and mental health in the benefit package. The law also makes provision for family planning in the benefit package. The health insurance scheme is also looking forward to setting up two additional state-of-the-act Claims Processing Centres - one in the North and the last in the Central region - and this will complete the whole revolution into claims management that will reduce the leakages and address the issues of abuse at that level.�
He added: �We are also looking forward to introducing the instant issuance of ID cards to address the perennial problem of delays in ID card distribution where individuals register and will have to wait for months.
�We are also looking forward to a nationwide rollout of capitation beginning with the preferred primary provider arrangement and we hope that this will nip in the bud all the difficulties associated with moral hazards experienced over the years.�
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