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09.11.2005 Health

GLICO launches special health insurance scheme

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Accra, Nov. 9, GNA - Vice President Aliu Mahama on Wednesday launched a special health insurance plan being implemented by Gemini Life Insurance Company (GLICO) to bridge the gap between corporate medical and minimum benefits of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Known as "The Top-Up Scheme", it is designed as a supplement to the District Mutual Health Insurance Scheme. It is also meant to foot the bill of specialised medical services not available in most health facilities such as special x-rays (angiography), high cost treatments such as brain and heart surgeries and enhanced ward accommodation. GLICO has also made arrangements with accredited opticians across the country and the Nsawam Orthopaedic Centre to provide spectacles and prosthesis to members.

The scheme would operate basic and classic packages. With the classic package with option for spectacles, the maximum benefit per person per annum is 140 million cedis, while classic package without spectacles is 125 million cedis.

Basic package with spectacles is 125 million cedis and basic package without spectacle is 120 million cedis. Vice President Mahama lauded the initiative saying, the growing cost of medical care had deterred a lot of low-income earners from seeking attention.

"Basic medical care, therefore, has become a luxury that the average Ghanaian cannot afford. In some instances, the lack of medical attention for patients has led to deaths from easily treated illness," he said.

Justifying the need for the NHIS, he said the Government introduced the District Mutual and Private Health Insurance Schemes and Private Commercial Health Insurance Scheme to enable Ghanaians to obtain at least basic health care services without paying any money at the point of the service.

"Clearly this is the most humane way of providing quality health care delivery to all, rich and poor, employed and unemployed members of society."

Vice President Mahama said to date 125 district schemes were in place while 50 of them had become fully operational. He expressed the need for corporate Ghana to embrace the Top-Up Scheme to pave the way for their participation in the District Mutual Health Insurance Scheme and also to strive to meet the medical provisions under their Collective Bargaining Agreements.

Mr Samuel Owusu Adjei, Deputy Minister of Health, expressed appreciation that the private sector was taking part in health financing and delivery, saying the Top-Up Scheme would resolve the challenges confronting employers in registering their employees for the NHIS. Mr Edward Forkuo Kyei, General Manager of Gemini Health Care, said GLICO was sponsoring a Health Maintenance Organisation to provide quality healthcare services to the citizenry at a reasonable cost. He said in June last year GLICO initiated a health plan, the first private mutual health insurance scheme in Ghana, in line with the National Health Insurance Law. So far 10,000 members have been enrolled.

Mr Kyei said healthcare services covered by the scheme were of specialised nature and because of the high costs involved, some deposits may be required by health care providers even where credit arrangements had been made, he said.

Ms Joyce Rosaline Aryee, Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Mines and Vice President of the Ghana Employers' Association, who chaired the function, said the Top-Up Scheme marked an important milestone in health care delivery. She said the wealth of the nation depended on the health of the people.