Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Man has warned health-care providers not to charge patients for services already covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in order to restore public trust in the scheme.
The co-payment — a separate charge imposed by service providers for conditions already covered by the scheme — had become a major challenge for the scheme, according to Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who called on service providers, particularly the Ghana Health Service (GHS), to help address the situation.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Accra, the sector minister said co-payments created a barrier to access.
“Co-payments have been banned. The President hates to see poor patients being charged out of pocket for healthcare services
“Maternal services such as deliveries are supposed to be free, but some facilities are charging patients as high as GH¢1,000 for the service, and that is unacceptable.
“When it happens that way, to the end-user it will look as if the scheme is not working,” he said.
He explained that the Ministry was working tirelessly to end the illegality through meaningful engagements.
“Fortunately, the government has, in recent times, been doing well with timely payments. We have been doing frequent monthly payments in bits to ensure service providers get monies frequently.’’
“The arrears gap has been bridged over time. Service providers are owed about four or five months as compared to the situation that persisted some years back when they were owed 12 months and beyond.
“Service providers have therefore, no justification to indulge in co-payments. The act amounts to extortion, and that is illegal,” he added.
According to the minister, the NHIS is still effective and continues to provide unrestricted access to healthcare delivery.
He stated that the government would continue to invest in the scheme and that it showed no signs of failing.
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