The Trades Union Congress (TUC), in collaboration with the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), has organised a forum for workers’ unions to dialogue on strategies and measures to strengthen the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The forum, under the auspices of Organised Labour, is a nationwide programme aimed at soliciting views and inputs from the unions on how to address the challenges of the NHIS to ensure quality service delivery.
Dr Samuel Annor, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NHIA, said health issues were the most important for every country and much attention was needed to run the Scheme.
He said the introduction of the NHIS was a laudable social intervention, which was targeted at assisting the vulnerable and less privileged in society to access healthcare.
“The Scheme was introduced in 2003 by President Kufuor and it was running smoothly up to six or seven years. The country received a lot of praises nationally and internationally for prioritising healthcare through this intervention.
“But over a few years, as the Scheme records increment in membership to about 11.2 million members, the service delivery has not been what many expected,” Dr Annor said.
He highlighted the financing model of the scheme as a major obstacle to its smooth operation and said a better approach needed to be adopted to equip it with the necessary financial support to enable it to work effectively.
He said the 2.5 per cent of the Value Added Tax and 2.5 per cent of the contribution from the Social Security and National Insurance Trust, which amounted to 30 dollars for each person per year, allocated to the Scheme, was enough to enable it to function effectively.
Dr Annor called on the Government to increase the percentages from the current 2.5 to at least 3.5 percent and also ensure that the Scheme got its share of the revenue generated from the oil and gas sectors, among other things, to support it financially.
This would enable the Scheme to be strengthened to pay claims of service providers and prevent extortion or unauthorised payments the citizens sometimes were forced to make, he said.
Dr Annor said the NHIA was making changes in the Scheme to ensure that information technology monitoring and internal policies were enforced to check how service providers generated bills to check corruption.
He expressed regret that cases regarding mismanagement of the Scheme’s resources were always delayed in the courts and said some even took more than six years to be resolved, thereby causing huge loses to the Scheme.
Dr Annor announced that mobile piloting was due to be introduced to assist the citizenry to register and renew their cards from their homes.
Dr Anthony Yaw Baah, the Secretary General of the TUC, called for collective efforts from all stakeholders, the workers unions and the public to enable the proposed measures to succeed to improve healthcare delivery.