The National Pensioners Association has called for the improvement of post-retirement health care in the country.
The association, at the launch its 25th anniversary further called for the establishment of a national endowment fund to support the aged in times of disaster.
At a press conference to launch the Silver Jubilee in Accra, the General Secretary of the association, Mr Edward Ameyibor, paid glowing tribute to the founding fathers for the establishment of the association.
He also commended the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) for its support and cooperation over the years, including the increase in annual indexation from GH¢52 in 2009 for the least paid pensioners to the current GH¢276.
The silver jubilee is on the theme “More members, more resources and more welfare”.
As part of the celebration, the pensioners embarked on a walk from the Independence Square to the National Pensioners Secretariat in Accra to raise public awareness on the issues of ageing and pensions.
Gap in health care
Mr Ameyibor noted, however, that there still remained a huge gap in the health care of pensioners in the country.
According to him, a huge chunk of pensioners’ benefits were mostly used to treat prolonged aliments, such as prostate and breast cancers, which were not included in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
“Monies from SSNIT end up at the pharmacy and hospitals, especially when the NHIS does not cover prostate and breast cancers which mostly affect our members”, Mr Ameyibor said.
He disclosed that about 68 per cent of its members who were males had prostate cancer and the disease was not covered by the NHIS, hence putting so much financial burden on its members.
As part of its efforts to support its members, Mr Ameyibor indicated that the association had established the pensioners medical scheme to which they made yearly contributions to support their health care.
“We are in partnership with 63 government hospitals and faith-based hospitals and have issued 25,000 cards to members to access health care”, he said. Under the scheme, members with prostate cancer and gyaenecological cancers are supported.
He announced that from September, 2017, members of the association would receive GH¢300 per annum as support for the purchase of drugs from designated pharmacists across the country.
Mr Ameyibor said the association would use the silver jubilee celebrations to bring the issues of ageing to the fore .
Welfare of pensioners
In his address, the Deputy Director-General of SSNIT, Mr Michael Addo, said his outfit would continue to make the welfare of pensioners its priority.
He indicated that measures had been put in place to ensure that pensioners were given special attention when they visited SSNIT offices.
Also, he said SSNIT was helping the association to establish district offices across the country.
He added that as of July, 2017 SSNIT had paid about GH¢184million to 182,000 pensioners while it had paid GH¢1.2billion in pension benefits.