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Health Service Providers Call For Increase in NHIS Levy

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Health service providers have urged government to increase the premium of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to generate enough revenue to sustain the pro-poor health care policy.

Executive Director of the Health Insurance Service Providers Association of Ghana (HISPAG), Mr Frank Richard Torblu, said in order for the scheme to escape collapse, at least a one per cent increase must be placed on the premium of the health insurance.

“At least 3.5% is okay since currently we are at 2.5%. So, if we have additional 1% making it 3.5 %, it is fantastic,” Mr Torblu said at a press conference held in Accra on Tuesday.

Outlining a number of interventions that government must take into consideration to maintain the scheme, the HISPAG director further asked that government gives the scheme 1% of its petroleum proceeds.

He indicated that with a current debt of Gh₵750 million and financing gap of Gh₵45 per person, if the suggestion of premium increase was not adhered to, the scheme may collapse by 2020.

With about 13.5 million subscribers on the scheme’s data base and an average utilisation of 10 million people, the NHIS has about GH¢450million annual funding deficit.

Don’t Politicise NHIS matters

Mr Torblu, further called for a delinking of the scheme from politics so as to attract investors to support the scheme.

“There are a lot of technocrats in this country; there are lot of well meaning Ghanaians in this country who are ready to put their head on the table to ensure the sustainability of health insurance. Just that we want a situation where these well-meaning Ghanaians will not be politically bastardised,” he said.

Meanwhile a member of the Ghana Collation of NGOs in Health, Dr Gabriel Benaku says his collation supports the call for a 1% increase in NHIS premium, though it is still not enough.

 “1% cannot still resolve the issues as it is being proposed. We need to agree on how the funding will be managed. Over the years we have mismanaged the health insurance scheme. There is evidence across the country on how we have mismanaged.

“We want to see a workable business model that will ensure that everybody will be content with…we want to see that the ministry of finance is more proactive in the response to the NHIS”, he said.

By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ ksogbey@gmail.com

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