The Chief Executive of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Sylvester Mensah, has said that NHIS service providers across the country will be paid their claims arrears within the next two weeks.
Speaking to B&FT, he said various stakeholder meetings have been held about the issue and all parties have come to an amicable agreement to resolve the situation, and the Ghana Health Service has come out with a letter to withdraw its intentions of levying NHIS card holders.
Mr. Mensah said the Ministry of Finance is working at providing funds to pay for the arrears for 2014 owed to NHIS service providers.
“We hope that within the next two weeks we will be able to pay all the arrears for 2014,” he said.
As of last year, the National Health Insurance Authority owed service providers about GH?968million in claims. Finance Minister Seth Terkper recently told Parliament that government has released an amount of GH¢828.4 and GH¢1.06billion into the NHIF account for 2013 and 2014 respectively, for the payment of claims of service.
Mr. Mensah emphasised that, statutorily, claims are paid three months in arrears and not monthly as some have the view.
“Claims are paid three months in arrears, so if you hear five months or six months arrears you have to discount it by three months,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Health Service, Mrs. Rebecca Ackwonu speaking to B&FT, dismissed reports in the media that NHIS service providers — made up of the Ghana Health Service, the Christian Health Association of Ghana, the Society Of Private Medical And Dental Practitioners and the Ghana Registered Midwives Association — in a joint statement said NHIS card holders must be prepared to pay for service rendered when they visit any health facility.
She said that the statement they issued did not mean they will now charge NHIS card holders for services provided; rather, NHIS card holders will now not be given drugs at the hospital.
She said the reimbursement they receive from NHIA is what provides the service providers with funds to purchase the drugs to serve patients who visit the hospital.
However, because of the delay inthe reimbursement, NHIS service providers will provide regular health services to patients, but they will have to purchase their own drugs as prescribed.
“You can walk in with your insurance card alright, and you will be taken care of in terms of consultations; but the medicine we prescribe, you will have to go and buy it yourself since the reimbursement has stopped coming,” she said.
She said previously GHS had an arrangement with some private firms to supply them with drugs, but that arrangement has been discontinued because of the financial constraints; since they are owed between five to eight months’ arrears.
She however emphasised that NHIS service providers, in various stakeholder meetings, have been assured by government that arears will be paid within the next two months.