NHIA rolls out membership renewal app next month

BY: Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah
 Mr Essuah-Mensah speaking to journalists after the sensitisation meeting in Sunyani
Mr Essuah-Mensah speaking to journalists after the sensitisation meeting in Sunyani

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has begun a sensitisation programme towards the launching of a mobile phone application (app) next month to allow subscribers of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to renew their membership on their mobile phones.

After the successful pilot of the system in the Asuogyaman and West Manprusi districts in the Eastern and Northern regions respectively, the NHIA is expected to roll out the initiative nationwide next month.

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The Head of Corporate Affairs of NHIA, Mr Oswald Essuah-Mensah, announced this during a media sensitisation session in Sunyani.

He explained that using the mobile phone to renew NHIS membership was so successful at the pilot stage, proving its ability to remove the bottlenecks associated with the current system where members spent long hours at the NHIS offices for that purpose.

Bottlenecks


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Mr Essuah-Mensah explained that even though the NHIS law made it mandatory for all persons living in the country to sign on to the NHIS, only 37 per cent of the population had registered.

He said the frustrations that would-be beneficiaries went through before they were registered and how existing members struggled before renewing their membership was enough to deter them from registering.

According to him, the cost of transportation and unnecessary waste of time at the district offices had become a bother both for the authority and beneficiaries, hence the strive to find a more reliable and convenient alternative to eliminate such bottlenecks.

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Mr Essuah-Mensah said it was expected that the new system for the renewal of membership would curtail the massing up of beneficiaries at the offices of the authority and give officials ample time to register new members onto the scheme.

How the system operates

Mr Essuah-Mensah explained that the system would require that mobile phone holders dialed *842*10# on all mobile networks to enter into the system.

The system provided options such as checking of policy validity, renewal of membership, checking benefit packages and checking medicine list.

He said when the system was rolled out nationwide, a short code, *929#, had been assigned for use by members on all networks.

“One does not need to have a smartphone for the process since any phone can be used,” he explained and gave the assurance that the public would be sensitised before the system was rolled out nationwide.

Medicine list

Mr Essuah-Mensah stated that the NHIS had 517 drugs on its medicine list, which all service providers were expected to have in stock, adding that it was unfortunate that an impression had been created as if only paracetamol was dispensed to NHIS card bearers.

He called on all service providers to comply with the rules by providing NHIS beneficiaries with all the drugs on the list when they were prescribed without collecting any money from them.