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NHIA seeking legal powers from A G to tackle fraud|12/13/2018

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) says it is seeking legal powers from the Attorney-General’s (A-G) Department to prosecute persons who defraud the health insurance scheme meant to provide access to universal healthcare to Ghanaians. According to the NHIA the National Health Insurance Scheme’s (NHIS) present legal framework does not allow the required space for the Authority to take punitive measures against persons who defraud the system.

Mr Oswald Essuah-Mensah, NHIA Deputy Director, Corporate Affairs, made this known during a press briefing in Wa, the Upper West Regional capital, on new NHIS mobile membership and authentication app being rolled out by the Scheme. The app is scheduled to be launched on 19th December 2018 by the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo.

The media was tasked to educate the public on the new card renewal technology that allows subscribers of the Scheme to use the Short Code: *929# to renew their membership with any mobile phone. NHIS would from time to time through the app, send SMS via the short code to members prompting them of their cards expiry dates, and also allow card users to renew their membership at their own convenience.

Mr Essuah-Mensah said the Scheme has already arranged with five lawyers who have begun the consultation process with the A-G’s office who was in agreement to issue a fiat to the Authority. He said when the fiat is granted it would enable the Scheme to prosecute persons who cheat the system and serve as deterrent to prevent fraud and also abort delays in legal judgements on NHIS fraud cases, which sometimes lasted four to six years.

“The NHIS is seeking prosecutable powers from the A-G Department who has agreed to issue a fiat to the scheme, and when that is done the system will be swift in dealing with fraud,” he said. Mr Ben Kusi, a Director at NHIA in charge of Membership and Regional Operations, expressed worry that active membership of the national insurance scheme has fallen from 18 million to about 10 million.

He attributed the drastic decline to many factors including inconvenience owing to undue delays at registration and renewal centres and poor service rendered by NHIS officials among others. He expressed the hope that with the new technology membership experience with the Scheme would improve and help boost access to healthcare to Ghanaians.

The NHIA has so far visited seven regions to discuss with stakeholders about the new technology seeking to improve membership of the country’s national insurance scheme established in 2003 under Act 650. GNA


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