NHIS Under Threat � Minister

The Minister of Health, Dr Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah, has admitted that there is a mounting funding gap of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which is seriously threatening the existence of the scheme. The minister, who made the admission in Parliament last week, said the scheme is currently being confronted with a funding gap of GH�299.2 million rising sharply from the funding gap of GH�118 million last year. This, he said, is due to the rising patronage of the scheme and the resultant high cost of claims as against stagnated allocation of resources to keep the scheme alive. He told Parliament that a total of GH�929.6 million had been received into the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) as at August, 2014 out of which GH�332.2 million was paid in respect of arrears for 2013 remaining GH�597.45 million meant for 2014. He indicated that a total of GH�607.2 million had been collected by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) in respect of the National Health Insurance Levy as at August, this year with the projection for September and October, this year being GH�151.8 million. He, however, indicated that GH�9.8 million collected on behalf of the scheme is yet to be paid into the NHIF He said total claims paid in 2014 is GH�761.3 million with five months beginning from June to October outstanding or still in arrears across the country. �In terms of releases, the Ministry of Finance can be credited for releasing over 80 percent of the reported collections to the NHIF. The real challenge is that the approved budget of allocation formula, which constitutes the basis for the release, has fallen short of requirement since 2009,� he said. Dr Agyemang-Mensah added that the NHIS has been engaging stakeholders on the need to fundamentally restructure the generous benefit package and sweeping exemption regime, which appear unsustainable into the future. He said that in the interim, the Ministry of Health (MoH) is in discussion with the Ministry of Finance (MoF) on how to fund the financing gap in the immediate to the short term.