The Upper East Regional Director of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Kasimu Abudulai, has bemoaned increasing reports of clients being asked to pay illegal charges when they visit healthcare facilities in the region.
He said some members of the public in the region, who are beneficiaries of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), complained of being charged to pay money for services covered by the Scheme.
The Regional Director noted that the authority was troubled by the reports and would address the issue to ensure that clients benefitted fully from it to improve access to healthcare services.
“One issue we are going to pay particular attention to, in 2023, is the issue of illegal charges at the level of the facilities,” Abudulai told Ghana News Agency in an interview in Bolgatanga, adding, “they call it co-payment, it is not right.
“It is getting rampant, it is happening in our region, unfortunately, we are one of the poorest regions in the country and unfortunately it is not even happening more at the lower levels like the CHPS compounds, it is rather happening more at the district hospitals and the regional hospital.
“In Ghana, our NHIS is not a co-payment system, we finance everything that is covered by the Scheme because when we talk of co-payment, it is where it is officially agreed and signed that if you go to the hospital, you will pay a certain percentage of the bill for a service rendered to you while the Scheme covers the other percentage,” he added.
He furthered that in other countries where a co-payment system was practised, the higher level one attained the higher percentage one was likely to pay which system, was not allowed in Ghana.
As part of efforts to tame the phenomenon, Co-payment Committees have been established at all levels, including the national, regional and district with guidelines to help reduce or eliminate the challenge.
He said the committees would help identify facilities involved in illegal charges and will engage them to address the issue to relieve vulnerable people of unnecessary burden, he added.
The Regional Director noted that the committee had already engaged the management of Zebilla Hospital who were charging a sanitation levy of GH₵5.00 on clients who visited the facility including NHIS clients which they promised to stop.
“We have some issues with the Bolgatanga regional hospital, which is yet to be resolved because they are doing some top-ups on NHIS clients and they are giving the Authority reasons why they were doing so but the matter is being handled by the national committee for a solution,” he said.