By Cecil Mensah
The biometric registration exercise to train and capture the biodata information of subscribers of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), will by the beginning of next month hit the Ashanti Region to renew and register subscribers and issue them with the instant health care smart Identity cards.
The instant biometric registration train after successfully registering over four million (4,32,791) subscribers in the Greater Accra Region, Eastern Region and Central Region, will hit the Ashanti Region to renew and register the region’s health insurance users and issue them with the new smart cards.
The health care provider, is hopeful it will cover the remaining six regions by the end of December 2014.
Briefing the media in Accra on the success of the exercise even though it was initially fraught with some challenges at the beginning, Mr Nathaniel Oto, Deputy Chief Executive of NHIS in charge of operations said, the Biometric Membership Solution (BMS) is to resolve the Identity card (ID) management challenges that has resulted in fraudulent claims and malfeasance, which has bedeviled the scheme since it inception.
According to him, the BMS will address the issues of data integrity, authentication of subscribers by health care providers and resolve the delays in ID cards production, as well as difficulties in the distribution of cards to subscribers.
He said, the inability of the Authority to link subscriber hospitals attendance to claim forms and multiple registration in membership database will also be addressed.
He noted that the nation-wide roll out of the instant issuance of ID cards system based on biometric data started in January 2014 after being piloted with the security agencies namely; Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and Ghana Police Service in two districts of the Greater Accra Region, Ayawaso and La between June and December 2013.
He appealed to subscribers not to rush for the new cards once a subscribers card is not near the expiry date, according to him this will ensure that the centres of renewal and registration are not congested because the old cards are still valued as the new ones.
He assured subscribers that health care providers are accepting both the old and new cards, until the old ones are gradually phased out of the system.
He said, the Authority has rolled -out measures to address numbers at the various centres, he added that the Authority was impressed with the turnout and the interest people have shown in registering with the scheme.
“For us this shows the confidence Ghana ins have in the scheme as well as an indication that Ghana insane happy about the path the country has chosen to finance healthcare”, he maintained
Mr Perry Nelson , Director of Information Management System at NHIA said, it was difficult for the Authority to get subscribers to pick -up their ID cards after registering with the scheme, but with the new BMS subscribers will be issued with instant cards that contain more information and help authenticate hospital attendance of subscribers.
He explained that this will eradicate the long delays in issuing cards to subscribers, he was hopeful the card will be synchronised with all Identity cards in the near future.
He said, current the scheme has over nine million subscribers with twenty seven million hospital attendance each.