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Health News Sun, 22 Oct 2006

Ho Mutual Health Insurance pays 1.8 billion cedis in claims

Ho, Oct 22, GNA - The Ho Municipal Mutual Health Insurance Scheme has expended 1.8 billion cedis on claims by 16,000 out of its 23,000 registered members since it commenced operations in September 2005. Mr Mawuko Tsigbey, Public Relations Officer of the Scheme, said this at a sensitisation outreach in Ho on Sunday.

He said the highest claim paid for a single policyholder was 9.1 million cedis, covering treatment and admission over a period of one and half months.

Mr Tsigbey said the scheme was the best way to ensure that people got health care at all times regardless of their economic circumstances. He said registered members of a particular scheme could transfer their holdings to other schemes and that holders on trek could also use their cards wherever they went.

During question time, Mr Tsigbey conceded that some medical personnel at the Ho District Hospital collected fees for certain surgical operations and dismissed as untenable explanations that those fees were for drugs, which were not on the health insurance drug list. Mr Tsigbey expressed concern about the abuse of the Scheme, giving an example of a Health Worker filling in for treatment of a relative as an insurance holder when that relative had not registered. Other concerns raised by contributors included preferential treatment at a medical facility in the Keta District, where Insurance cardholders were treated only after non-members paying cash had been attended to.

Another concern was that some dispensary staff contrived not to give out certain prescribed drugs to patients but indicated in their books as having supplied those drugs.

Mr Tsigbey appealed to insurance cardholders to report the abuse of the scheme to the offices of the scheme for investigation. Mr Kofi Dzamesi, Volta Regional Minister, at the Meet-The-Press Series in Ho last Tuesday, listed 16 major constraints including over-prescription of drugs by providers and fraudulent practices bedevilling the scheme.

He warned that as an important pillar of the welfare policies of government, anybody whether a health worker or not, who deliberately does anything to discredit or cheat the scheme would face the full rigours of the law.

Source: GNA