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04.01.2006 Health

Over 7,000 applicants to enjoy health insurance benefits at Ho

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Ho, Jan. 4, GNA - Over 7,000 applicants to the Ho Municipal Mutual Health Insurance Scheme have since October last year, received their identity cards which qualify them to access health services at designated health facilities on the account of the Scheme. Mr Mawuko Tsigbe, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Scheme made this known to the Ghana News Agency in an up-date on the progress of the scheme within the Municipality.

He said the scheme had signed contracts with 38 hospitals and clinics, six pharmacy shops and one private clinic within the Municipality to provide services to its clients.

Mr Tsigbe said the scheme in some special circumstances waived the six months validity period between the submission of applications and the use of the cards to access services. He explained that card-bearers were eligible to submit them at the designated health facilities for service soon after they had received them contrary to rumours that they would have to wait for at least three months.

Mr Tsigbe said unofficial information available to the Scheme so far indicated that 33 cardholders sought services at the Ho Municipal Hospital, 10 at the designated private clinic, 10 at the Ho Polyclinic and 10 at the Volta Regional Hospital including referrals from Hohoe, Ketu and Krachi districts.

As to whether many of the card-bearers would not opt for the private clinic with its cost implications instead of the public health facilities, Mr Tsigbe said it was for that reason that the Ghana Health Service was carrying out customer care education for staff of public health facilities.

He said with the right orientation towards improved customer care, quality service delivery and attention at the public health facilities, card-bearers would not have much to choose from between the private and public health delivery.

Mr Tsigbe said public health facilities were also aware of the legal implications for defaulting in providing the standard care for their card bearing clients.

He said the scheme had intensified its education in the 875 communities within its catchment area both within the Ho Municipality and the Adaklu-Anyigbe district and the response had been encouraging. In addition, Mr Tsigbe said the Scheme had arranged with the designated health facilities to help in registering patients who called for treatment but were yet to register with the scheme.

Regarding the period of validity of the cards, Mr Tsigbe explained that each card would entitle its holder to one-year cover from the period the card was received after which there would be a one-month grace period for renewal on paying a new premium.

He said there would be no re-registration for those who had already registered and that a chip would ultimately be developed for each applicant for purposes of renewal of the cards in future. Mr Tsigbe said the scheme required the support of the media to reach out to more people with education on the need to register under the scheme and its operations.

Meanwhile many applicants especially pensioners and the aged have been trooping daily to the Scheme's Secretariat to find out whether their cards were ready for collection and use. A pensioner told the GNA at the Secretariat that he was advised by authorities at the Ho Regional Hospital to come for his card because the treatment he was seeking was expensive. 04 Jan.06