MTN Rwanda has become the first telecom in Rwanda to comply with the new legislation regarding the financing of the Community Based Health Insurance (Mutuelle de Santé) through contributing 2.5 per cent of their turnover to subsidise the scheme.
The Telco announced in a news conference on Wednesday that by the end of 2019, they would be paying Rwf1,363,442,690 towards the scheme to which nearly 90 per cent of Rwandans subscribe.
The subsidy is prescribed by a Prime Minister's order gazetted in July this year, through Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) as one of the sustainable solutions to bridge the funding gap of the sector.
Through the law, the telecom companies will contribute 2.5 per cent of their annual turnover towards Mutuelle de Sante for the first two years, before it increases to 3 per cent.
According to RSSB’s Deputy Director-General in charge of Benefits, Dr. Solange Hakiba, who also attended the news conference, government continues to push for increased accessibility, affordable and quality health services.
As a result, said Hakiba, the cost for Mutuelle de Sante increased and it was necessary to find creative ways to finance the scheme on which the biggest number of the Rwandan population, mainly from the rural part of the country, depend to access healthcare.
More healthcare services, same premium
The partnership will impact the service package offered by the scheme, without Rwandans incurring any increased cost.
Through the scheme, each individual Rwandan pays an annual subscription of Rwf3,000 (in categories two and three of Ubudehe) to access health services at all government medical facilities for the whole year and on every hospital visit, one is only asked to pay 10 per cent of the medical bill.
Others from poor households (category 1) are paid for by government while the few who are in the first category contribute 7,000 per cent annually.
"With these revenues, we hope to increase not only health coverage but also the benefit package such as surgical operations or treatment of non-communicable diseases,” said Hakiba during a press conference this Wednesday, November 2019.
The official clarified that the new financial sources will not affect the annual premium prices.
“Households will continue to pay their premiums according to Ubudehe categories as usual, and the government will continue to pay for its subsidies for disadvantaged families,” she said, adding that insurance should remain families’ priority.
Mitwa Ng’ambi, CEO of MTN Rwanda said the collaboration with RSSB will contribute to the betterment of health care in Rwanda.
“We recognize health care challenges and we are committed to being part of the solution. Our collaboration with the government of Rwanda and RSSB is a part of the greater good,” said Mitwa.
MTN Rwanda was recognized via a certificate of compliance signed and issued by RSSB
Corporate Social Responsibility
Besides being the first telecom to respond to the order, according to the MTN Rwanda CEO, through its Corporate Social Responsibility policy, the firm has just this year, contributed Rwf 50 million to the health system in the country.
The company which is the oldest telecom in the country, also plans to spread insurance awareness through text messages and campaigns via mobile phones to their subscribers.
Through the 2.5 per cent levy, the firm predicts a contribution of about Rwf 3 billion during next year.
Through the levy, the government plans to annually raise at least Rwf3.5 billion every year.
RSSB’s Deputy Director General in charge of benefits, Dr. Hakiba Solange (R) and MTN Rwanda CEO Mitwa Ng'ambe (L) launching the partnership
Funding Mutuelle de Sante from revenues
Through the new legislation, government plans to raise at least Rwf 10 billion every year through different streams, besides the Telecom companies.
Other streams include; all amount collected in penalties for trade of substandard products and 10 per cent of fees collected from road traffic fines.
Police will also remit 50 per cent of the fees collected for motor vehicle mechanical inspection, according to the legislation.
The government will also add Rwf 6 billion into Mutuelle de Sante through direct budget funding.
The government intends to reach 100 percent of CBHI coverage despite budget shortfalls that the scheme has faced over the past years.
Figures from RSSB shows a funding deficit of Rwf 14.6 billion every year for the scheme.
For that reason, Richard Tusabe, the Director-General of RSSB, told a news conference in August that there is a need for more sustainable financing options.
“There is a study that is being carried out that will inform us about the available financing alternatives because every year the money that we spend on Mutuelle de Santé increases as health care services are brought closer to people,” he said.Follow Mugisha_Cosma