The Insurance Regulatory Authority has submitted its recommendations and proposals for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) 2019 to the committee of parliament on health.
Led by the Chief Executive Officer, Alhaji Kaddunabbi Ibrahim Lubega, the regulator identified a number of unclear sections in the bill that is already before parliament and suggested recommendations, which the Authority and the Ministry of Health (the authors of the bill) had earlier agreed on.
Addressing the committee chaired by Hon Michael Bukenya, Alhaji Kaddunabbi suggested clarity on issues such as identification cards for contributors to the health insurance scheme, the need be specific on whether it is biological children of the contributor should be the ones to benefit, and the duration of the scheme’s Chief executive officer.
“Whereas under section 25 (1) every contributor shall upon payment of the prescribed contribution, be issued with an identification card for purposes of identification and verification, a spouse and the child of the contributor are entitled to benefits under the scheme but there is no provision for issuance of the identification cards to these beneficiaries. This may cause some challenges in the process as every person will be required to present their identity card”, noted Kaddunnabbi.
He added that, “The Authority recommends that the meaning of the word ‘child’ should be better defined to exhaustively address the issue of dependents and the definition of ‘beneficiary’ in Section 2 to mean a person entitled to health care benefits under the scheme and include a contributor, a spouse and the child of the contributor”.
Alhaji Kaddunabi was also concerned about the fact that section 19(1) of the NHIS bill 2019 provided that the Chief Executive Officer of [of the scheme] shall hold office for a term of four year and is eligible for reappointment for one more term.
“The proposed tenure of office for a term of four years seems rather inadequate due to the technical role the CEO will play in implementing the programs of the scheme. As the regulator, we propose that the CEO should hold office for a term of five years and is eligible for reappointment for one more term”, said Kaddunabbi.
The term expert in health insurance as it appears in section 39(2)(b) was recommended to be replaced with expert in insurance while spelt out penalties and fines need to be enhanced to ensure greater compliance.
These are among the numerous proposals and recommendations IRA presented to the Health Committee confirming that the Ministry of health had been consulted and agreed to such changes.
To Alhaji Kaddunabi, if these recommendations are considered, the bill is good to be rolled out.