The Chief Executive of the NHIA, Nathaniel Otoo has described the thronging of people to NHIA district offices to enroll onto the National Health Insurance Scheme as an indication of the growth and relevance of the Scheme to Ghanaians.
The Scheme on average registers 30,000 people every day across the country and revenue from the NHIA to health service providers as claims reimbursements form about 85% of all internally generated funds of those facilities.
Mr Otoo made this known on Wednesday when he made routine visits to the Osu Klottey and Ayawaso district offices of the Scheme in the Greater Accra region. According to the Chief Executive, though he has officers at the district level carrying out the work of the NHIA, he occasionally visits to interact with people enrolling onto the Scheme and to also get first-hand information on what the emerging issues at any point in time regarding the Scheme may be.
At the Osu Klottey office, Mr Otoo was met with hundreds of people were at the registration centre to either register to join the Scheme or new their membership. After interacting with them and listening to their complaints, he assured them of the NHIA’s resolve to continue proffering solutions that will make their experience with the Scheme worthwhile. The situation at the Ayawaso office was no different as many turned up to be served.
According to him, though the large numbers the Scheme has seen so far this year have been very encouraging, it posed a temporary logistical challenge which resulted in some of the offices running low on some critical consumables. The Chief Executive however said the NHIA has since replenished its stocks, and all offices across the country were busily at work attending to clients.
He said 4.13 million new registrations have been undertaken between January and August almost equaling the target for the entire year with one more quarter to end 2016. An additional 2.6 million cards, he mentioned, were printed as replacements because majority of those had either misplaced or defaced their cards. The reprints or card replacements, Mr Otoo explained was one of the major factors that led to the temporary shortage of consumables the NHIA suffered.
He therefore urged NHIS members to ensure that their cards were properly kept to avoid situations where card replacements would have to be necessitated.
“The real cost of the card is subsidized by government, so if the cards are not properly kept and we have to do replacements, it has financial implications for the NHIA,” Mr Otoo averred.
The NHIA boss, said his outfit will soon roll-out a multi-year NHIS card renewal system as a way of avoiding yearly visits by members to the NHIS office to renew cards. Under this new system, it was explained that subscribers will now have the option of renewing their cards after every two or three years as they deem convenient. According him, this will also reduce the crowd situation at the registration centres.
The NHIS was set up by an Act of Parliament to provide financial risk protection against the cost of basic healthcare to all residents in Ghana. The Scheme currently has a membership of 11.3 million people being served by a network of about 4,650 healthcare providers across the country.