President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has launched some innovations at the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
One of the innovations, which is first of its kind in West Africa, is the NHIS Mobile Membership Renewal service.
This service allows NHIS members to check policy validity, NHIS medicines list and benefit package and most importantly renew membership with the use of a mobile money wallet on any simple mobile phone, including feature phones better known as ‘yam phones’ in a matter of minutes via a USSD code *929#.
The service is available on the AirtelTigo, MTN and Vodafone networks.
The launch was performed on behalf of President Akufo-Addo by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia at the launch of the NHIS 15th Anniversary Commemoration at the Flagstaff House in Accra.
It marks the 15th Anniversary since the enactment of the law that begun Ghana’s journey to Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The event is on the theme “The Path to UHC in Ghana: Innovating for a Sustainable NHIS”.
“I am glad to learn that this service is already compatible for use with the Ghana Card, which will be the sole biometric ID card with the ability to utilize healthcare services in the very near future when it has fully been scaled up across the country,” President Akufo-Addo said.
“With the high percentage of mobile phone users in comparison to other technologies, (in Ghana, for instance, we have 34.5 million registered mobile phone users, in a population of under 30 million), this service will provide a platform for increasing access to health care services for all residents in Ghana.”
He said, he was also reliably informed that an SMS feature system had been embedded in this NHIS Mobile Membership Renewal Service, which will allow the participation of NHIS members in confirming their attendance at facilities hence reducing the submission of duplicate or unearned claims submitted by Healthcare Providers for payment.
He said this feature will not only reduce financial leakages, but it will also make the scheme more financially sustainable.
President Akufo-Addo recounted that in his inaugural speech after the 2016 elections, he urged Ghanaians to be citizens and not spectators; “citizens that will help make mother Ghana great again, citizens who will be involved in the safeguarding of the public purse”.
“It suffices to say that this NHIS innovation is keeping up with the mantra of being citizens and not spectators. And I am happy that the NHIA has heeded to that call.”
The President said a pilot of the NHIS Mobile Membership Renewal Service had been successfully conducted in Asuogyaman and West Mamprusi Districts of the Eastern and Northern regions respectively with NHIS members in these areas highly commending the innovation with very positive testimonies.
He said credentialed Healthcare providers under the NHIS should embrace this innovation as it would also speed up identification checks and generate cleaner claims via a separate dedicated short code that will also non-biometrically verify the NHIS member.
He said the NHIS had also innovated by using technology to enhance their financial system in providing access to health care by its collaboration with the National Investment Bank to provide E – RECEIPTING technology with on-site banking at all its district offices.
He noted that this will reduce manual interventions in cash management and make the scheme more efficient.
“Fifteen years of providing access to healthcare to the people of Ghana and on the path to achieving UHC has not been a merry ride but we will surely get there with hard work, dedication, perseverance, patriotism and discipline,” he said.
“To the Management, staff and Board of the NHIA, I say a big Ayeekoo, well done for your years of service and for improving on your past achievements.”
He urged Ghanaians to join hands together to make the NHIS work for mother Ghana to be a healthy nation.
“Digitization has arrived at the NHIA, and it is going to help us as a country. These are all parts of the building blocks that we are seeing. Today when you go to the DVLA, digitization has arrived. When you go to the passport office, it has arrived. It is arriving at every stop as we go. We will put it all together, and Ghanaians will see the full picture soon,” he said.