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NHIA boss: Government still committed to one-time premium
Sylvester Mensah,Chief Executive officer of the NHIA
The Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority, Sylvester Mensah has stated that the government is still committed to introducing the one-time premium.

Mr. Mensah explained that due to the funding gaps that may arise when the one-time premium is implemented, government is looking at all necessary parameters that will ensure the sustenance of the scheme.

Mr. Mensah who was speaking to Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Wednesday said government is being cautious in ensuring that it defines all the parameters involved before rolling out an effective and successful implementation of the onetime premium.

“As we speak now government is considering reviewing the (NHIA’s) inflows and outflows in a way that will redefine sustainability within a certain time frame. The idea of one time premium is a social contract that government had with the people of this country. It was one of the key pillars that earned the National Democratic Congress the mandate of the people of this country, [so] government is very focused on the implementation of the one-time premium,” he assured.

He said there are some funding gaps that are being addressed by the authority which he believes are also causing the delay in the implementation of the one-time premium.

Mr. Mensah revealed that the authority has made certain propositions towards the implementation of the one-time premium saying, “we a looking at a parallel system; running a onetime premium alongside an annual premium regime. So we are going to have these two operating side by side.”

He further explained that reason behind such a proposition is to offer Ghanaians the right to choose whichever package works for them.

On whether the scheme is still financially independent, Mr. Mensah stated that the scheme is “potentially healthy. It is a fact [however] that our outflows currently exceeds our inflows,” stressing that this is also due to the increase in the utilization of the scheme as result of the confidence that people have in it.

He said Outpatient Utilization as at 2005 was about 597,000 but it has shot up to about 18.7 million at the end of December 2010, adding that Inpatient Utilization also went up from 28, 000 in 2005 to 440,000 in 2009.

As part of reforms been introduced by the authority to consolidate its financial management, Mr. Mensah stated that Consolidated Premium Accounts located in two banks – Ghana Commercial Bank and the Agric Development Bank- have been created so that premiums are paid into them in order to monitor how much each scheme is paying and to also reduce leakages in the system.

He said Clinical Audit which was introduced last year is one of the innovations that has ensured that resources are managed effectively.

Mr. Mensah maintained that the authority is working on the Claims Processing Centre and the Provider Payment Capitation which will be fully operational by April.

According to him, the authority is also establishing a call centre to help deal with specific customer queries which seem to slow down operations.

At the end of December 2010, the scheme had over 17 million subscribers Myjoyonline reports.

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