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03.08.2005 Health

Minister bans fees for NHIS ID cards

By GNA

Wa, Aug 03, GNA - Mr Ambrose Dery, the Upper West Regional Minister, has placed a ban on charging of processing fees for the photo-taking aspect of the National Health Insurance Scheme in the region.

He said only parliament and the district assemblies are by law empowered to impose levies and it was therefore illegal for any scheme manager to collect money other than premiums at any stage in the implementation of the scheme.

Mr Dery gave the order on Tuesday when it was found out at a one-day regional stakeholders review meeting of the NHIS in the region at Wa that the Wa District-Wide Scheme Manager, Mr John Zury, had been collecting 8,000 cedis from each subscriber for the photo-taking exercise.

The Lawra, Jirapa/Lambussie and Sissala districts had been undertaking the photo-taking exercise without collecting money from subscribers while Nadowli District is yet to begin the exercise.

Mr Zury has jurisdiction over Wa Municipality, Wa East and Wa West districts since the exercise began in the area on July 02.

It was alleged that he had been taking decisions on the implementation of the scheme without the involvement of the district assemblies, district health authorities and the management boards of the scheme.

Mr Dery urged the district assemblies to ensure that the photo-taking stage was completed without the payment of fees by anyone. He gave the assurance that his outfit would investigate to ensure that money so far collected was accounted for and if possible refunded to the subscribers.

"The collection of the money was a unilateral decision taken by the Scheme Manager and it is an imposition which the government will never allow".

Mr Zury explained that he decided to charge fees during the exercise because the photo-taking and the processing of identity cards were extra costs that could not be borne by the Scheme. He said if the exercise was going to be free for the subscribers, someone must be ready to pay for it.

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