More than five million people used their mobile phones to renew their membership in the National Health Insurance Scheme.
Using the scheme’s shortcode,*929#, they overcame the challenges, including long queues and network problems associated with visiting offices of the authority to renew NHIS membership.
The authority in 2018 introduced the shortcode as part of its quest to improving healthcare delivery and digitalise the system to make it more accessible to its users.
“The award-winning NHIS Mobile Renewal Service which has, without doubt, saved our compatriots time and resources, by its very nature, has substantially cut down the operational cost of the Authority,” the Chief Executive of the authority, Dr Lydia Dsane-Selby told the media at a press conference in Accra.
The number of subscribers of the scheme has often been the subject of a political ping-pong, but figures from the NHIA show that in the last three years it recorded a significant increase from 10 million subscribers in 2016 to the current 12 million as of November 2019.
Dr. Dsane-Selby described the increased active members as “spectacular” and attributed it to “the introduction of the NHIS Mobile Renewal Service platform”.
Apart from the number of its members, the NHIA says the number of its healthcare providers also shot up from a little over 3,000 to 4,600 in all 16 regions of the country.
The platform was launched on December 19, 2018, by the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is in line with the government’s quest to improve upon the Scheme’s financial management.
According to the authority, the platform has proven to be a turning point for the health delivery system, giving clients the comfort that they deserve.
“The total digitalisation of the system of enrolment of new NHIS clients, renewal of membership, submission, processing, and payment of claims to support efforts of the government towards universal health coverage of the country have been made possible with the platform, ” the statement highlights.
“The service puts a check on providers by reducing the chances of false claims generation through the option available to members to confirm or deny attendance after every facility visit requiring the use of the NHIS cards. Simplified Offline Verification allows NHIS provider facilities to verify membership validity with the aid of a mobile phone leading to prompt payment of claims, ” she said.
The authority is assuring the general public that it is committed to achieving the full Universal Health Care (UHC) delivery.
By doing this, the NHIA adds that it has adopted the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) to make the special breast cancer drug affordable for the beneficiaries.
In response to the payment claims, the authority indicated that it has paid off the total arrears between 2015 and 2016.
“Not only that, Health Service Providers have again been paid 2017 and 2018 claims in full and payment of 2019 is earnestly on course. This mountain of debt had eaten up the confidence in the Scheme and strangled it almost it to the point of no return, ” it stressed.