By Gifty Arthur
A group, Media Consult Group, has challenged government to immediately increase the levy covering the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), to sustain it going forward.
In the view of the group, the current levy of 2.5 per cent is woefully inadequate to ensure the continual existence of the laudable pro-poor initiative started years ago.
The group, made the suggestion when it issued a statement jointly signed by Coordinator and Deputy Secretary, Mohammed Nurudeen and Noble Twum-Asamoah, last Tuesday in Accra.
The call comes at a time when service providers, have expressed disquiet about the inability of the scheme to pay arrears owned them covering services rendered to subscribers of the NHIS across the country.
In recent past, service providers including the Christian Health Association have threatened to bring back the dreaded “cash and carry” system in hospitals should the NHIS fail to settle arrears owned them covering last year’s services.
To help curb this unfortunately phenomenon, the group believes the only way to sustain it is for government to increase the current 2.5 per cent levy to 3.5 per cent so not to collapse the scheme completely.
“Media Consult Group categorically concludes that, to avoid situations where holders of NHIS Cards are turned away from health facilities of service providers, Media Consult Group is humbly calling on government to have a serious view of the current levy of 2.5% for it to be increased from the 2.5% to at least 3.5%, just an increase of 1% to generate enough funds to meet claims of sercive providers on time, to avoid the periodical ritual litigation between the NHIA and the service providers in the country”.
It cited recent suggestion by some New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament (MP) that the levy needs to be increased to make it efficient.
While commending the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority Sylvester Mensah, for the many infrastructural development and other programme, the statement urged the newly appointed Minister for Health, Alex Segbefia to use his good office “to push this agenda for the positive sustenance of the NHIS, since it is on record that even some members from the minority in Parliament have also advocated for the increase in the NHIA Levy of 2.5% to a higher level”.