Health Minister-designate and former Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, has stated that to ensure sustenance of the health insurance scheme, there is need for extra funding by increasing existing levies and premiums under the scheme.
According to him, premiums to the scheme have remained stagnant for some years, which has contributed to some challenges like the accumulation of arrears to service providers and other issues faced with the Health Insurance scheme.
“For health insurance, I must be honest to tell colleagues and the whole country that cost for healthcare continues to escalate but premiums we pay to health insurance have been stagnant for a very long time, since the time we started.
“Financially, these schemes that we are running, if we don’t find a way to bring in some extra resources either through increments in premiums or through more government resource allocations to support them going forward, we might not continue to see their efficient performance as it is now,” Mr. Agyemang-Manu said when he appeared before the Appointment Committee for vetting and consideration to serve his second term as Minister of Health.
While stressing that the programme is laudable and must continue to run in the country, he emphasised that without needed resources the scheme will not be efficient.
“The scheme is sustainable to the extent that we continue to get releases from the ministry of finance as have been given to us in the last four years. If that happens, then I would say we will always have resources to be able to meet our reimbursable expenditures from the facilities. If that does not happen, it is likely we may go back to the same old problem of accumulating arrears that will hamper the efficient performance of the health insurance system,” he added.
The Akufo-Addo-led government, in 2017, inherited some GH¢1.2billion owed the National Health Insurance Scheme. The situation affected drug supply and other logistics needed to efficiently run the scheme across the country, and also led to some health facilities charging patients for service delivery.
Currently, claims for service providers under the scheme have been paid up to August 2020.
“Between August and end of January is about five months. By the law we have space; we are allowed three months to owe providers, and this means they can submit their claims for us to vet. So, if you look at it critically, effectively we owe only two months,” Mr. Agyemnag Manu said, regarding how much is owed service providers under the scheme.