The government is considering the possibility of allowing Ghanaians to access healthcare with their Ghana cards under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Dr. Lydia Baaba Dsane-Selby, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) who announced this, said the initiative, which is part of efforts to help achieve the universal health coverage, would be piloted soon in a yet-to-be-identified region to determine its feasibility.
Dr. Dsane-Selby, who was speaking at a mass NHIS registration of residents of Morso in the Asante-Akim South Municipality said the policy would be extended to the entire country if the pilot was successful.
She said children under 15 years of age would continue to use their NHIS cards to access healthcare until they are also captured by the National Identification Authority (NIA).
This, according to Dr Dsane-Selby, formed part of the government’s determination to ensure that the huge investments in the healthcare delivery system benefited every Ghanaian without any impediments.
She hinted that the NHIA was taking steps to address the phenomenon, where patients were told that their ailments were not covered by the NHIS and thereby, compelling them to buy drugs instead of receiving them from the health facilities.
“We are deploying some of our staff to health facilities to check those practices so that nobody would be turned away or forced to buy drugs which are on the NHIS drug list”, she assured.
She said the Authority had expanded the services provided to NHIS card holders, saying, “we have even added the treatment of breast cancer, eye and dental services which were previously not catered for”.
The NHIA, she said, had also introduced another innovation where patients were notified that they had visited a particular facility as part of efforts to clamp down on illegal claims.
She therefore entreated the public to notify the Authority in case they received such messages when they had not visited any facility to collectively eliminate fraudsters from the system.
Dr. Philip Bannor, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Health Facilities Regulatory Agency (HeFRA), underlined the need for every Ghanaian to enrol on the NHIS to ensure unimpeded access to healthcare.
He said the NHIS had been one of the biggest interventions that expanded access and coverage to healthcare since it was introduced by former President John Agyekum Kufuor and urged the people not to be left out of the benefits of the policy.
“If for nothing at all, your access to primary healthcare is guaranteed by registering for the NHIS so try and keep your cards active at all times to survive any unforeseen circumstances”, he implored.