NHIS service providers suspend decision to charge cardholders

Service providers for the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) have rescinded an earlier decision to charge subscribers of the national health insurance scheme.

This follows a promise by the NHIA to settle their indebtedness to the health service providers within two months.

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) and other private health providers withdrew health services to National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) card holder due to non-payment of their claims covering seven months.

However, at an emergency meeting called by the Ministry of Health the NHIA and service providers reached a favourable consensus.

Public Relations Manager at the Health Ministry, Tony Goodman, told Joy News the ministry will ensure the agreement reached is carried through.

He said despite challenges with the scheme, the ministry is committed to ensuring its success.

“We have all agreed that we will continue to assist health insurance as any national policy that is supposed to deliver quality health care to [Ghanaians]“, said Tony Goodman.

On March 3, 2015 the Minister of Finance, Mr Seth Terkper, told Parliament the ministry had remitted more than GH¢1.6 billion into the operational accounts of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) for the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years.

Mr Terkper said the government paid GH¢828.4 million and GH¢1.06 billion into the NHIF account in 2013 and 2014 respectively, for the payment of claims of service providers.

He said the delays were not deliberate, adding that the accumulation of arrears was not solely dependent on releases.

According to him, the occasional “ups and downs” that the economy went through were to blame, adding, however, that payments were being made while some of the arrears were being cleared.

On February 13, this year, hospitals in the Volta Region threatened to return to the ‘cash-and-carry’, system if the NHIA did not pay monies owed them within 30 days.

Also on February 27, the Upper East Regional Directorate of the GHS hinted that the ‘cash-and-carry’ system was looming in the region, and warned that hospitals would have no other option than to reverse to the system in providing health care to their clients if the NHIA failed to settle its arrears.

Members of the Christian Health Association (CHAG) on July 1, last year withdrew their services to subscribers of the NHIS because managers of the scheme owed the mission hospitals in excess of GH¢50 million.

There are 183 mission hospitals in the country which cater for about 42 per cent of the healthcare needs of the people, especially those in deprived communities.

In July last year, the Ghana Chamber of Pharmacy nearly cut supply of medicines to health facilities that depend on the NHIS to pay for their medicines.

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