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Confidence in the National Health Insurance Scheme is waning, Chief Executive Officer of the Health Insurance Authority has admitted.
According to Dr Samuel Annor, there has been a gradual decline in the renewal of the cards over the last two years and that is a great source of worry.
Appearing before the Parliament’s Accounts Committee, Dr Annor said the number of subscribers reduced from 11.3million in 2015 to 11 million in 2016.
The figures for the first quarter of 2017 have not been impressive either.
A number of reasons have been cited for the decline in renewal rates and the waning confidence.
Joy News’ Parliamentary correspondent Joseph Opoku Gakpo reported Dr Annor as saying the refusal by service providers to give premium care to clients due to high levels of indebtedness is to blame for the decline.
The National Health Insurance Scheme was introduced in 2003 by the John Kufuor administration to replace the dreaded cash and carry health policy.
The Scheme is a social intervention program introduced by the government to provide financial access to quality health care for residents in Ghana.
According to the 2009 National Health Insurance Authority report, there were 12,518,560 people registered on the scheme as at 2008, a figure which was more than 50% of the entire population of the country at the time.
Again, in 2010, the annual NHIA report captured NHIS card holders to be just 8,163,714, a very sharp decline of about four million. And in 2011, there was a jump of less than 50,000 to record 8.2 million members.
The NHIA’s own reports further showed another jump, but this time around, of about 600,000 in 2012, to 8,885,757. The scheme then recorded a significant growth in its membership from 8,885,757 to 10,145,196 in 2013.
Even though there was no record in terms of growth for 2014, Dr Annor suggests the growth figure for 2015 was 11.3 million.
That figure is, however, dwindling again.
Dr Annor is calling for an extra source of funding to sustain the policy and to end the cycle of indebtedness to service providers which has been the reason for the declining confidence.
According to him in 2003 when the policy kick-started, only 7 million had subscribed and the funding source -2.5% NHIS levy on goods and services collected under the Value Added Tax (VAT), 2.5 percentage points of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions per month- appeared to be adequate but with the figure increasing to over 11 million, extra-funding source must be generated.