NHIS providers resort to co-payment amidst cash-and-carry return fears

Patients are asked to pay for essential services as per the new system[/caption] Most health insurance service providers have introduced a system of co-payment in the face of non-payment of arrears by government, the Executive Director of the Health Insurance Service Providers Association of Ghana (HISPAG) has said. He explained co-payment to mean payment for some essential services rendered by service providers. The new payment system started last month. “We have been able to educate patients who visit health centers, informing them that the situation [with the NHIS] is terribly terrible,” Frank Richard Toblu said on TV3’s Midday Live on Saturday, May 13. “So they are beginning to understand the situation.” He said the new payment scheme has been introduced in order to make up for government’s inability to pay most National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)-affiliated facilities. But Mr Toblu warned government to settle its arrears in time in order avert the return of cash-and-carry – instant payment – at health facilities across the country. There have been fears by some patients that cash-and-carry has returned as they have been turned away though holding the NHIS cards. Service providers have complained about huge indebtedness with three facilities in the Ashanti Region closing down recently. READ: Three hospitals close down in Ashanti Region due to NHIS indebtedness ‘Politics is killing NHIS’ Mr Toblu says the country has gotten to this point because “successive governments over the years have used the National Health Insurance Scheme to do so many things to their advantage”. He advocated a total delinking of politics from the Scheme. “I must tell you in all sincerity [that] politics is killing National Health Insurance.” He acknowledges that the Scheme is the biggest social intervention programme and health affects all and sundry. But it cannot be used to spite another, he argues, the reason why it should not be used as a political tool. “So that when it is not going well,” he further explains, “everybody can speak to the issue be it a politician and speak to it dispassionately without necessarily looking back saying Kofi is looking at me.” The Scheme was rolled out in 2005 after Parliament had passed the National Health Insurance Act 2003, Act 650.

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By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh|3news.com|Ghana ]]>