The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has justified the decision to donate 250,000 to the Covid-19 National Trust Fund.
Some Ghanaians have criticized the Authority for the April 22 gesture aimed at supporting the government’s fight against the deadly novel coronavirus in the country.
Critics wondered why the Authority, which owes some healthcare facilities across the country millions of cedis, readily released monies for donation while the health facilities struggle to get reimbursement for services rendered to patients under the health insurance scheme.
On the back of the criticisms, officials of the Authority issued a statement Thursday to explain that the gesture was in line with its mandate.
It said the National Health Insurance ACT enjoins the Authority to facilitate the provision of or access to health care services and to invest in any other facilitating programme to promote access to health service.
“In light of this, it was deemed appropriate to support Covid-19 efforts by the government,” it said, stating that “this does not, in any way, relegate the payment of claims to the background.
In any case, the NHIA said the amount donated though significant, represents less than 5% of the entire Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Budget for 2020.
“Indeed, it is equivalent to 0.06% of funds paid in claims this year, which amounts to approximately GHC400 Million to healthcare providers as claims re-imbursement” it said.
Further, the Authority observed that the ability to control the Covid-19 pandemic within the country would eventually protect the national health insurance fund “ in terms of reduced claims from service providers”.
In advanced countries where universal health coverage is achieved, it said, the equivalent of the National Health Service (NHS) as pertains for the UK or PhilHealth for the Philippines, will cover all expenses for Covid-19 related treatments albeit with additional emergency funding from government.
“Therefore the donation is the NHIS way of demonstrating good corporate citizenship by supporting government initiatives that will provide health education, prevention and enhancement of health infrastructure to fight this unseen enemy,” the statement read.
It added “Management of the Authority wishes to re-assure the general public and service providers that membership & claims payment remain the core function of the NHIA”.