The inception of renewing one’s national health insurance on a mobile phone has proven effective as five million Ghanaians across the country have renewed their cards using the Mobile Membership Renewal Service platform which was launched almost a year ago.
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the scheme, Mrs Vivian Addo-Cobbiah, who disclosed this in an interview with the Daily Graphic said it was a significant feat when put along side the current increase in active membership of the scheme from 11 million at the end of 2016 to 12 million as of last week, a representation of 40 per cent of the country’s population.
“The health insurance scheme is doing very well and just last week we achieved a membership of 40 per cent of the population which is 12 million,” she said.
Mrs Addo-Cobbiah said, so far, about 4,600 health facilities had been accredited across the country and are providing the public with health care.
“The health insurance scheme is growing. It is the best thing to have ever happened to any country in sub-Saharan Africa. If you go to other countries the membership is not even up to 10 per cent of the population,” she said, adding that “to achieve 40 per cent of the population is a massive achievement”.
She said in order to give the scheme a boost, management had come out with many new ideas including the mobile phone renewal platform for people to renew their expired cards on their mobile phones.
The NHIS Mobile Membership Renewal Service which was launched by the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, in January this year allows members to check policy validity, NHIS medicines list and benefit package and most importantly renew their membership and subscribe from their mobile money wallet using the USSD code *929#.
Mrs Addo-Cobbiah said further that the authority had machines across the country to verify attendances at health facilities and to monitor the number of people accessing the facilities at any point in time.
“We have the human resource for the work and we are coming out with many new ideas to entice people to come on board.
“We want to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. That is the government’s plan and we are going to work to achieve that together with other agencies,” she said.
Mrs Addo-Cobbiah said it was the hope of the government that every Ghanaian would become part of the national health insurance scheme.
She said the authority was collaborating with the National Identification Authority to have the Ghana Card used as a medium to access health care.
“Discussions are far advanced regarding this collaboration,” she said.
“The law mandates every Ghanaian to have a health insurance card and to register with the scheme. I am, therefore, advising every Ghanaian to register with the scheme.
“With the national identification card you can access health within your reach even if you travel to another region,” she said.
Mrs Addo-Cobbiah said one challenge the scheme faced had to do with reimbursing healthcare providers for expenses they had incurred and the government was working hard on that.
“We are trying hard to bridge the gap. We owe service providers about five months arrears and we are trying hard to close it because they need the money to provide further care,” she said.
According to her, the authority had so far cleared arrears on claims for 2016, 2017 and 2018.