By Papisdaff Abdullah.
The Health Insurance Service Providers Association of Ghana (HISPAG) has called on the government of Ghana to allocate one percent of the country’s petroleum revenue to save the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) from total collapse.
The Association asked for the increment of the current premium of GH¢30 for beneficiaries.
Speaking at a press conference Monday, the Executive Director of HISPAG, Frank Torblu predicted the collapse of the pro poor health insurance scheme by end of 2019 if nothing is done immediately to address the funding gaps.
HISPAG is encouraging Ghanaians to “jealously guard and guide” the NHIS to ensure its sustainability saying posterity will not forgive any group of people or individuals whose “actions or inactions” are geared towards the destruction of the scheme.
Listing the financing mechanism of the scheme, Mr. Torblu said the funding sources of the scheme which are; the National Health Insurance levy, 2.5percent SSNIT contribution, premium from the public, donor funding and returns on investment “cannot support the existing claims presented by the health care providers to the NHIS for payment.”
“At this time, Ghanaians need the former presidents in the persons of flight lieutenant Jerry John Rawlimgs, Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor [and] Mr. John Dramani Mahama to add their voice to the call that we are making to ensure that at least one percent of the national petroleum levy is made available to support the scheme,” he asked.
His comments come on the back a warning by the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu in April that NHIS risk collapsing unless government comes up with other innovative ways to fund the programme.
The NHIA recently announced plans to hike the Health Insurance levy by 1% moving it from 2.5% to 3.5%. Currently, former workers pay 2.5% of their 17.5% contribution from the tier one pension fund to run the NHIS.
Speaking at a health summit on April 23, 2018, the Health Minister said government is considering taxation to support the running of the scheme.
“We want free healthcare for all…[But] clearly the health insurance is not sustainable now. You can all see it,” he said citing the huge arrears owed service providers.