The Eastern Regional Office of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has adopted a number of measures to be able to cater for the large number of clients who throng the New Juaben Registration Centre daily to register with the scheme.
The Eastern Regional Director of the NHIS, Alhaji Seidu Abudu Sampson, mentioned a booking system where specific dates are assigned to clients for the processing of ID cards, as part of the measures, adding that, “priority is, however, given to the aged, children, pregnant women and emergency cases.”
Staff running shift system
Again, Alhaji Abudu said staff at other registration centres were running a shift system in order to meet the rising demand for the biometric cards.
There are 17 administrative offices of the NHIA in the region with 24 mobile kits, which are mobilised for two districts for mass registration exercise at a time.
More than 500 accredited health providers in the region can be accessed with the health insurance cards.
Speaking at a media briefing on the progress of the NHIS in the region, Alhaji Abudu said the region had an active membership of 1,003,201 under the scheme as of 2014, representing 38.10 per cent of the region’s population of 2,633,154.
He also said the scheme paid total claims of GH¢40,237 to offset medical bills for its over one-million subscribers last year.
Indebtedness to service providers
Meanwhile, the regional scheme is still indebted to some service providers which, according to Alhaji Abudu, was expected to be cleared by the first quarter of this year.
He explained that utilisation for the same period was nearly five million, and said the number indicated the confidence that clients had in the scheme.
Utilisation is the number of times clients visited and used the accredited facilities in the region.
According to Alhaji Abudu, 980,000 clients in the region had so far been issued with the biometric cards, which was introduced in April, last year.
He said the biometric cards had a comparative advantage over the previous magnetic card in that, it provided data integrity and eliminated multiple registration, thereby, reducing abuse of the NHIS scheme.
He added that earlier misinformation that the old cards were not valid had led to the congestion at the registration centres.
“The old cards are not valid only when they expire,” he stressed.
Alhaji Abudu said the unreliable nature of the 3G network was largely responsible for the rather slow process in the registration and issuance of the cards in the region, and pointed out that the attention of the relevant communication networks had been drawn, and hopefully, there would be an improvement in the network for improved services to prospective clients, and thereby ease the pressure on the staff.