November 16, 2022

The Minority in Parliament has warned of dire consequences for health delivery in the country if urgent steps are not taken by government to settle outstanding debts to the National Health Insurance Scheme.

They insist that the current situation of owing claims far above the statutory limits cannot be acceptable under these precarious economic situations and urged government to as a matter of urgency, revert to the regular and reliable schedules as envisioned in the NHIA Act and report to parliament as required.

The Minority contend that recent development from stakeholders attest to the fact that all is not well with the health sector, stating that the Private Health Facilities Association of Ghana has threatened in a statement to pass on top-up payments to NHIS clients within their facilities. This, they claim is due to extensive delays in the payment of claims by the NHIA, the Ghana Cedi Depreciation and the rising inflation on drugs and non-medical consumables.

“Unconfirmed reports suggest that some facilities have already started passing on these top-up costs to their patients”.
“On the 19″ of October this year, a joint press statement was issued by the Ghana National Chamber Of Pharmacy (GNCOP), The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers And The Pharmaceutical Importers & Association Of Ghana (PMAG), Wholesalers Association Of Ghana (PIWA) warning all concerned that they were no longer going to give credit to health facilities” citing the unprecedented levels of inflation and the non-payment of claims by the NHIA as reasons for which they are withdrawing all credit lines to health facilities.

Ranking Member on the health Committee, Kwabena MInta Akandoh addressing the media said the joint statement by these groups should have seen some appropriate actions from government such as transferring to the NHIF all outstanding collections of NHIL and SSNIT contributions as mandated by the National Health Insurance Act 2012 (Act 852) Section 52(1). But this intervention never happened.

“Unfortunately, there rather seems to be an unwavering effort to collapse the National Health Insurance Scheme by depriving it of funds. As we speak, the highest release of NHIL levies collected was in 2016 when 86% of collections were released to the NHIA. The lowest on record is that of last year where government out of the GHS2.056bn it collected paid only GHS 127m or 6.2% to the NHIA fund. We have issued several statements calling on the Minister for Finance to release National Health Insurance Levies and the component of SSNIT contributions meant for the scheme to the National Health Insurance Fund all to no avail. After several weeks, the Private Health Facilities Association of Ghana have also threatened to pass on top-up payments to NHIS clients who use their facilities. This foreboding news wreaks fear in the hearts of many who frequent healthcare facilities across the country”.

The Minority asserts that under the current economic conditions more Ghanaians, than ever before, will require the National Health insurance Scheme to finance their medical needs. “It is therefore unconscionable for government to hold on to monies collected in the name of the NHIA rendering it incapable of meeting its obligations to service providers”

If nothing is done, we foresee high mortality rates among patients who lack the resources to pay for the services of healthcare providers or delay presentation at health facilities, He added.

They described as appropriate the demand for the National Health Insurance Authority to clear at least 6 months of submitted claims and provide one month’s reimbursement every month but want to caution the finance minister to as a matter of urgency release all collections of NHIL to the National Health Insurance Fund without delay.

Meanwhile, the Minority has pleaded with manufacturers, importers and wholesalers of pharmaceuticals and private health service providers to delay the imposition of top-up costs to reduce mortality and morbidity even as they try to engage government on this matter.

Dominic Shirimori/