NHIS coverage may be expanded to other chronic illnesses, not only renal diseases – NHIA CEO

The CEO of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has announced that the National Health Insurance Scheme’s (NHIS) coverage for renal diseases may be expanded to include other chronic diseases.

Speaking on PM Express on JoyNews, Dr Dacosta Aboagye said that this is because kidney disease is not the only chronic illness in the country.

As such, the NHIA is running actuarial studies to inform the way forward after the first announced six months of renal disease coverage, he told the host Evans Mensah.

“So my advice, of which government knows about this, of which we are working together, is that we should look at it in totality. How do we fund chronic diseases, including dialysis?

“So what is happening is that we’ll use this as learning to obviously see what we can do. By that time, the actuarial study would have been ready,” Dr Aboagye said.

Regarding which other chronic diseases might be included, the NHIA CEO said that he cannot prematurely disclose any other details to prevent expectations.

“But what I know is that we are looking at it in totality. It’s not a case that we are only going to look at kidney diseases. We are going to look at other diseases. Governments do have a comprehensive plan from where I sit to not only focus on kidney diseases, but other chronic diseases,” Dr Aboagye added.

This follows the announcement of the commencement of a six-month free dialysis support programme for renal patients from June to December 2024.

The support, as explained in a statement released by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) dated June 1, noted that beneficiaries of the dialysis programme have been divided into two categories – Vulnerable groups [patients aged below 18 and above 60] and persons aged 18 to 59 years.

According to the Scheme, “patients under 18 and above 60 years will receive all eight free dialysis per sessions per month” with a cumulative cost estimated to be approximately GH₵ 2.3 million.

It added that “patients from the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Cape Coast Teaching Hospital (CCTH), Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital (EFRH), Ho Teaching Hospital (HTH), and Tamale Teaching Hospital will receive two dialysis sessions per month at GH₵ 982.00 that is GH₵491 per session.”

“The cost of dialysis for this treatment category [persons aged 18 to 59 years] is projected to be GH₵144,354 per month and by the end of December 2024, the cumulative cost is estimated to be approximately GH₵ 1.01 million.”

Although renal patients from Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KATH) will not be beneficiaries of the above, they will also receive a subsidy for two dialysis sessions per month at GH₵491.

This NHIA explained that this is due to a philanthropic gesture of GH₵380.00 being offered to renal patients.

Meanwhile, Dr Aboagye said that the NHIA would roll out preventive medical care.

This shift from a curative to a preventive approach, he stated, is essential for reducing the overall cost burden of healthcare.

“So the National Health Insurance Scheme, by next month, will be rolling out what we call the preventive healthcare as part of the claims budget. The reason is that we cannot have a disease National Health Insurance Scheme.

“So far, since its inception, we have been focusing on curative and services. How do we start from the basis by introducing something that will reduce these chronic diseases and the cost burden?”

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Source: myjoyonline.com