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NHIS Eyes Oil Cash

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The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is in financial distress and so authorities are banking their hopes on revenue from Ghana’s oil discovery to help the NHIS receive financial security.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Dr. Samuel Yaw Annor, has therefore appealed to government to resource the NHIS with monies from the country’s oil resources.

“The government should put a portion of monies that are raised from sales of the country’s oil discovery direct into the NHIA Levy so that there would be constant funding for the social-intervention health programme,” he said.

Speaking at the opening of this year’s annual NHIS Ashanti Regional Public Forum, in Kumasi, he stated that the amount paid yearly by Ghanaians for primary health care, is woefully inadequate.

Mr. Annor also asked that government tax alcoholic drinks, cigarettes and soft drinks, which according to him, posed a lot of health challenges.

He suggested that the money garnered be used to revamp the NHIS, to help give life to the scheme’s financial base.

Research has shown that abuse of cigarettes, sweet drinks and alcoholic beverages cause diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure and for Mr. Annor it is not farfetched to impose taxes on them.

He says the step would help reduce people’s interest in such substances.

Mr. Annor also made a passionate appeal to civil workers to allow for some one percent of their salaries to be deducted on a monthly basis to help strengthen the coffers of the NHIS.

Still on the NHIS’ funding, he stated that the VAT component of the scheme should be increased from 2.5 per cent to 3.5 or 4 per cent, adding that one or two per cent of NHIA levy should be added, further paid into NHIA coffers.

The forum, which was under the theme; ‘NHIS Financial Sustainability, a Collective Responsibility’, saw stakeholders coming together to offer ideas as to what ought to be done to help improve the financial base of the NHIS.

Kwadwo Tweneboah Koduah, the Ashanti Regional NHIA Coordinator, said increasing cost of claims, abuse and manual processing of claims, which causes undue delays, are some of the problems facing the scheme.

By: Afia Sarpong Amankwa

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