The NHIS are yet to receive GH¢180 million to pay claims of health service providers.
The government has directed the release of GH¢180 million for the payment of arrears owed health insurance providers.
The money is expected to clear part of the more than GH¢460 million owed National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) service providers across the country.
The NHIS owes service providers arrears covering six to eight months.
According to a statement signed by the Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Victor Asare Bampoe, and issued in Accra, the release formed part of ongoing efforts by the government to clear all outstanding arrears owed NHIS service providers.
It said the Bank of Ghana was currently processing the transfer of funds.
It expressed appreciation for the goodwill, patience and kind cooperation of service providers in difficult times.
“We wish to reassure healthcare providers and all other stakeholders that the government stands by its commitment to make the necessary resource allocations to the National Health Insurance Authority to meet its financial obligations, particularly to service providers, and ensure the long-term sustainability of the scheme,” it said.
Since last year, service providers under the NHIS have been threatening to return to the ‘cash-and-carry’ system due to huge sums of arrears owed them.
According to them, the delay in the payment of claims was largely compromising the provision of quality health care across the country.
On February 13, this year, hospitals in the Volta Region threatened to return to the ‘cash-and-carry’ system if the NHIA did not pay money owed them within 30 days.
Again on February 27, the Upper East Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) hinted that the ‘cash-and-carry’ system was looming in the region and warned that hospitals would have no option but revert to the system in providing health care for their clients if the NHIA failed to settle its arrears.
On July 1, 2014, the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG), which has 183 mission hospitals in the country, withdrew its services to subscribers of the NHIS because managers of the scheme owed mission hospitals GH¢50 million.
The Ghana Chamber of Pharmacies also nearly stopped the supply of medicines to health facilities that depended on the NHIS to pay for their medicines.
While the GHS issued a threat to suspend the issuance of medicines to NHIS subscribers, NHIS hospitals have also had to offer essential drugs on ‘cash-and-carry’ basis due to the debt margins.
Addressing Parliament on March 3, 2015, the Minister of Finance, Mr. Seth Terkper, said the delay in the payment of claims was not deliberate, adding that the accumulation of arrears was not solely dependent on releases.
He blamed the situation on the economic challenges confronting the country.