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23.07.2004 Health

Health Insurance Levy brings no significant price changes

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Accra, July 23, GNA - The VAT Service on Friday said that the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL), which takes effect from August 1, would not result in any "significant change in prices of goods in the country".

Mr Tony Mensah, an official at Training Unit of the VAT Service, said research had indicated that expected price increases should not go beyond 2.2 per cent, as the levy would not be charged on exempted goods and services.

These include drugs, water, education, electricity, fishing nets, basic agricultural products and foodstuffs to ensure that the less privileged in society were not overburdened, he added.

Mr Mensah said this when he met hotel and restaurant operators to explain the procedures and discuss problems that are unique to the industry.

He said tour operators must separate VAT from the NHIL even though the collection would follow the same procedure as in VAT. He said the VAT and NHIL would be paid together by traders, but they had to indicate that they were VAT and/or NHIL charges. "You must always show the VAT and the NHIL on your receipts, but you are not expected to bring separate monies for the VAT and NHIL." The NHI Act was by Parliament to replace the current "Cash and Carry" System under which patients pay for medical services at the point of delivery.

When the scheme becomes effective, an insured patient would not pay directly for health services rendered.

Mr Mensah said the NHIL would not be added to the cost of exports adding, "exports will therefore, attract a zero rate."