The Health Minister-nominee, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has doubts about the sustainability of the National Health Insurance Scheme if premiums are not increased.
He complained that “healthcare costs continue to escalate but premiums that we pay to health insurance have been stagnant for a very long time.”
Answering “yes and no” to the sustainability of the scheme during his vetting, Mr. Agyeman-Manu expressed confidence in the scheme in the short term though the scheme is currently in arrears to service providers for two months.
He said the scheme is “sustainable to the extent that we continue to get releases from the Ministry of Finance as has been given to us in the last four years.”
“If that happens then we will always have resources to meet our reimbursable expenditures from the facilities.”
But he added that, with any shortcomings from the Finance Ministry, “it is likely we may go back to the same old problem of accumulating arrears that will hamper the efficient performance of the health insurance scheme.”
As a solution to the cash problems, Mr. Agyeman-Manu suggested an increase in the levies and premiums paid.
“If we don’t find a way to bring in some extra resources, either through increments in premiums or through more government resource allocation to support the scheme, going forward we may not continue to see its efficient performance as it is.”
The NHIS is funded by the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL), which is a 2.5 percent levy on goods and services collected under the Value Added Tax (VAT), 2.5 percentage points of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions per month, returns on National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) investments and premium paid by informal sector subscribers.
Mr. Agyeman-Manu also noted that GHS 400 million in bonds has also been allocated to the scheme.
Government allocation also complements the funding of the scheme.