Health

NHIA Responds to Akandoh’s NHIS Concerns

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has issued a statement clarifying issues raised by the Member of Parliament for the Juaboso Constituency and Ranking Member on Parliament’s Health Committee with regards to the National Health Insurance Fund and its sustainability.

With regards to concerns that only GHc127.47million of the GHc2.056billion collected as National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) in 2021 was used to address obligations, the NHIA explained that an amount of GHc1, 393.14 million was referenced as the total amount released by the Ministry of Finance into the insurance fund within the year 2021 however, after the application of standard accounting reporting principles by the NHIA, an amount of GHc1, 266.14 million was treated as payment for liabilities of the government to the NHIA leaving an amount of GHc127 million which in the standard accounting reporting framework was attributed to the 2021 financial year.

Additionally, the NHIA noted that the payment arrangement it has with the service providers will always leave a gap for arrears while tackling the claim by Akandoh that there is a “concerted effort to build arrears into the future by paying very little to cover current claims on the fund.”

“By the NHIA’s claims payment arrangement, the Scheme will always be in arrears to its Service Providers. By an agreement, providers have 60 days to submit their claims whilst the NHIA has 90 days to vet, process, and pay. Based on this, an accurate arrears position will be difficult to be determined at any point in time as this will depend on when claims are submitted to the NHIA. For example, between 25 – 30% of healthcare providers have submitted their October to December 2021 (last quarter) claims as of March 2022. It will be quite erroneous to state emphatically that the NHIA owes GH2.5 billion to providers for claims submitted to March 2022.”

Akandoh also raised that the average use of the scheme by Ghanaians has reduced from 2.87 a year in 2016 to 2.75 times a year in 2021 but the NHIA says its active membership is at an all-time high of 16.75 million members amounting to approximately 54% of Ghana’s population at the end of 2021.

The Authority also described as “ironical” and “mismatch”, the Juaboso MP’s comparison of the 2014 average use of the NHI card to that of 2020 since the year generally witnessed low hospitals attendance.

Also, the MP had raised concerns about the he fast-diminishing value of the Cedi as also affecting most inputs required within the health sector.

“In recognising the current inflationary trends especially affecting medicines”, the NHIA says it has, together with stakeholders reviewed its service tariffs and is awaiting approval by the Minister of Health before publication.

During the Press conference yesterday, Akandoh said contrary to assurances from the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia that the integration of the National ID card to the NHIA card was at no cost, the 2022 National Health Insurance Fund Allocation Formula documents that NHIA is expected to pay some GHS 10.64 million to the NIA for data integration.

“What makes matters even worse is that his lies about the replacement of NHIA cards with Ghana Cards are also false. This Year’s allocation provides some GHS 54.60 million for the printing of some 2.6million NHIA cards at GHS21.00 each.”

But the NHIA said it has “significantly reduced the number of cards purchased since the merger of the NHIS cards with the Ghana cards resulting in substantial savings. Prior to the merger, on average, the number of ID cards purchased annually was around 4.3 million. For the 2022 Allocation formula, the NHIA made provision to procure only 2.6 million Biometric ID cards to provide uninterrupted access to healthcare for persons who do not possess the Ghana card especially children under 16 years and below.”

Source: opemsuo.com/Hajara Fuseini

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