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23.07.2005 Health

Health Insurance Schemes called for early release of funds from NHIC

GNA

Koforidua, July 23, GNA- Managers of District Health Insurance Schemes in the Eastern Region had called for immediate release of funds from the National Health Insurance Council(NHIC) to prevent the schemes from collapsing.

They also called for the relaxation of the control of the National Health Insurance Secretariat to enable the management of the schemes to take realistic decisions that would help in the sustenance of the schemes.

They suggested increase in the premium, limitation on the number of hospital attendance of members and the number of dependence that could benefit from the schemes.

This came to light at the stakeholders' workshop of District Health Insurance Schemes in the Eastern Region at Koforidua on Friday. The meeting was attended by managers of Health Insurance Schemes(HIS)s in the region, District Directors of Health, staff of the Ghana Health Service(GHS) and development partners of the Ministry of Health.

Speaking at the function, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Okwawuman Health insurance Scheme, Nana Boadi Yiadom the second said out of 68, 084 registered members, 43,260 representing 60 per cent of the registered members were exempted persons. He said the scheme needed six billion cedis to cater for the claims of its members but was able to raise only 1.6 billion cedis from the informal sector contributors.

Nana Yiadom said for the two months of operation of the scheme this year, the scheme had received a total medical bill of 707,156,653 cedis and it was the fear of management of the scheme that if the Health Insurance Council does not adequately fund the scheme, it could fold up very soon.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Akuapem South Scheme, Nana Oteng Akuffo-Akoto said the schemes need to be given the powers to increase the premium and to place limitation on dependants of members who could benefit from the scheme. The New Juaben Municipal Director of Health Service, Dr. Benjamin Marfo called for the extension of the waiting periods of members of the schemes to six months.

"The Health Insurance Schemes should not be run like a father Christmas" he observed.

In a speech read on his behalf, the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr. Yaw Barima, said 15 out of the 17 districts in the region had started implementing their health benefits.

He said the remaining two districts, Birim South and Yilo Krobo had done all the necessary preparations to implement the benefits by October 1, 2005.

Mr. Barima said the schemes in the region had registered 319,995 persons and over 5.8 billion cedis had been mobilized for the schemes.

He called on participants at the workshop to help find lasting solutions to the problems that had cropped out with the implementation of the schemes to make the region serve as a place of excellence in the implementation of the NHIS.

The Eastern Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira called on the scheme managers to be interested in the environmental cleanliness of their district to help reduce out patients attendance.

He called on managers of hospitals and the schemes to take bold decisions to ensure that nobody's inefficiency causes the collapse of the other's facility.

A member of the NHIC who chaired the function, Mr John Pratt called on the managers of the Health Insurance Schemes to get conversant with the legislative Instrument establishing the schemes to know their role and what they could not do.

He reminded the managers of the schemes that the NHIS was the biggest social project of the government and hence the decision of government to support the scheme for the next two years.

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