The Minister of health, Alex Segbefia has commissioned a 7 member technical committee to review the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The restructuring is the first since the policy was introduced about a decade ago.
The committee which is expected to conclude its work within five months is also expected to propose options for the reform.
Speaking at a ceremony to inaugurate the committee, Alex Segbefia noted, “In the growth and expansion of the NHIS it is time to explore all other options of sustaining the scheme in the context of the health system.”
[contextly_sidebar id=”mEAIbQCL07Xs4taGien8vOycBNeIVISc”]He added, “This will require taking a holistic look at the Scheme to determine where weaknesses exist and propose solutions.
The review process will also help to provide answers to questions such as the current status of the scheme in terms of its financial sustainability; what factors have contributed to the status quo; what needs to be done to bring permanent resolution to the issues identified and which persons or institutions need to take action and what resources are required for execution.
The technical team will be Chaired by senior health economist, Dr. Chris Atim who also played a pioneering role in the pilot stages of health insurance in Ghana. He is currently the Executive Director of the African Health Economics and Policy Association (AfHEA). Other committee members include Dr. Victor Bampoe, Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Obeng Apori, Chief Executive of the Ridge Hospital, Accra and Mr. Peter Yeboah, Executive Director of the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG).
The rest are Professor Irene Agyepong of the School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Dr. Huihui Wang, an Economist with the World Bank and Nathaniel Otoo, acting Chief Executive of the NHIA.
The NHIS has been running a funding gap since 2009, a situation which arose because of design and structural weaknesses of the Scheme.
Cost of providing medical care according to the sector minister has increased exponentially since the Scheme started full operation in 2005.
Managers of the scheme report that the average monthly expenditure on claims is 90 million Ghana cedis. Meanwhile the Authority in 2014 paid a total of 1.077 billion Ghana cedis in claims compared to 7.6 million cedis paid in 2005. The Authority has projected that cost of claims will reach about 1.5 billion in 2015.
The NHIS currently has a membership of 10.54 million.
By: Pius Amihere Eduku/citifmonline.com/Ghana