Management of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has said it is taking steps to impose prison sentences, as part of the punishment for those who inflate NHIA claims.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Authority, Dr. Samuel Yaw-Annor, said it has become necessary for them to impose stricter punitive measures on offenders, who rip the NHIA of funds through fraudulent means.
“The way we process the claims does not lead to the significant efficiency that we are looking for so we are taking measure to move from the manual to electronic processing of our claims.
“The internal disciplinary action against people who try to defraud the Scheme both internally and externally is not punitive,” he said.
The push for a minimum two-year jail term for perpetrators of crimes against Ghana’s health fund, comes on the back of concerns raised by stakeholders on the increasing debt of the HNIA owed health facilities.
According to the Authority, evidence of service rendered for majority of such inflated claims is not accounted for.
The Authority has been the eye of the storm recently after President Akufo-Addo said, “…of the ¢1.2 billion debt we inherited, the equivalent of $300 million, we have paid, in the last 15 months, ¢1 billion, the equivalent of $250 million.”
The NHIA CEO, confirmed that the debt has indeed been settled amid a controversy by some service providers that they have not been paid for close to 15 months contrary to what the President said.
He insisted his outfit has cleared a chunk of the debts owed to service providers under the health insurance scheme.
According to him, except for some few claims which the authority is withholding in order to do a thorough check and be satisfied before paying, his outfit has cleared almost all the debt it inherited.
Following from the back and forth, there have been several calls for the Authority to do some house cleaning to prevent a recurrence of another debt.
In response, Dr Yaw-Annor said NHIA realized the punitive measures are not mitigating enough “so people do the wrong things and when they are caught, they repeat it again.”
“We are looking at all these areas to reduce the losses from the little we have,” he said.
He said, the proposals are being discussed by the Health Ministry, which would go through the Attorney General and parliament.
The NHIA CEO, is hopeful by the end of the year, it will be discussed in parliament and it will become part of the country’s laws.