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

The CEO of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) announced that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) might expand its coverage for renal diseases to include other chronic conditions.

Speaking on PM Express on JoyNews, Dr. Dacosta Aboagye emphasized that kidney disease is not the only chronic illness affecting the country. Therefore, the NHIA is conducting actuarial studies to determine the next steps after the initial six months of renal disease coverage, he explained to host Evans Mensah.

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“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.

While Dr. Aboagye did not specify which other chronic diseases might be included, he assured that the focus is not solely on kidney diseases. “The government has a comprehensive plan to address various chronic diseases, not just kidney issues,” he added.

“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 launch of a six-month free dialysis support program for renal patients, running from June to December 2024. According to a statement from the NHIA dated June 1, the program divides beneficiaries into two groups: vulnerable patients (under 18 and over 60) and those aged 18 to 59.

Patients under 18 and over 60 will receive eight free dialysis sessions per month, with an estimated cost of GH₵ 2.3 million. Patients at specific hospitals, including Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) and others, will receive two sessions per month at GH₵491 per session. The cost for patients aged 18 to 59 is projected to be GH₵144,354 per month, totaling approximately GH₵ 1.01 million by December 2024.

Renal patients at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital will also receive a subsidy for two dialysis sessions per month at GH₵491, thanks to a philanthropic contribution of GH₵380.00.

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Dr. Aboagye also mentioned that the NHIA plans to shift towards preventive medical care to reduce overall healthcare costs, highlighting the importance of a preventive rather than curative approach.

“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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