A technical committee has been constituted to review the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and recommend ways to improve the scheme.
It is mandated to look at the increasing cost of healthcare to NHIS subcribers and the financial resources allocated to the scheme.
The seven-member commmittee, which is given five months to submit its report, is chaired by the Executive Director of the Africa Health Economics and Policy Association, Dr Chris Atim.
Other members of the committee are Dr Victor Bampoe, Deputy Minister of Health; Dr Obeng Apori, Chief Executive Officer of the Ridge Hospital, and Mr Peter Yeboah, Executive Director, Christian Health Association of Ghana.
The rest are Prof Irene Agyepong of the School of Public Health of the University of Ghana, Legon; Dr Huihui Wang, an economist with the World Bank, and Mr Nathaniel Otoo, acting Chief Executive of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).
Inaugurating the committee Thursday in Accra, the Minister of Health, Mr Alex Segbefia, said although the NHIS had come to revolutionarise the financing of healthcare in the country, it had faced a fair share of challenges.
For instance, he said, in recent times high and increasing costs of healthcare had placed the NHIS under severe financial presssure.
“This has contributed to the NHIS’s inability to pay claims in time to healthcare providers for services rendered to NHIS subscribers.
“Since 2005, the cost of providing healthcare to NHIS subscribers has increased much faster than the financial resources allocated to the scheme,” he said.
The NHIS, which began in 2003 with the passage of Act 650, covers 95 per cent of disease conditions reported in the country, with services ranging from primary to tertiary care for all enrolled persons.
Dr Segbefia said in the current situation where the NHIS was funded mainly through tax revenues and statutory deuctions, the country’s health goals should guide the design of the benefits packages.
The Minister of Health said it was time to explore all other options of sustaining the NHIS by finding out the weaknessess and proposing solutions.
Therefore, he said, the committee was tasked by President John Dramani Mahama to examine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the scheme.
The committee would also consider the initiatives needed to be undertaken to bring permanent resolution to issues identified and the persons and institutions that needed to take the action.
Dr Chris Atim, who spoke via skype from a location outside the country, said it was crucial to pool resources to find solutions to the issues facing the NHIS.
That effort, he said, called for higher degree of integrity.
Dr Atim assured President Mahama and all Ghanaians of the committment of the members to work tirelessly to meet expectation for the good of the country.
Source: Daily Graphic
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