Only 18 per cent have paid Mutuelle de Santé premiums

Less than a month to the deadline, only 18 percent of subscribers have managed to pay their fees to community-based health insurance scheme known as Mutuelle de Santé, the media heard on Friday.

This was revealed in a press conference held by the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) and the Ministry of Local Government, to shed light on what was achieved last year and the plan for the 2020/2021 fiscal year. 

 

Mutuelle de Santé is the country’s largest insurance scheme, catering for healthcare service needs of 88 per cent of Rwanda’s 12 million people.

 

While the government pays Rwf2, 000 subsidy to the scheme per year for each needy person in Category one of Ubudehe, Categories two and three are expected to cover their Rfw3, 000 fee while Category four pays 7,000.  

 

The current number of subscribers who have paid is way lower than what RSSB has previously achieved and can be blamed on the outbreak of Covid-19 which saw many people lose incomes due to limitations of the lockdown.

For instance, for the year 2018/2019, a total of 78.5 percent subscribed to Mutuelle de Santé, and this number slightly increased to 79.6 percent in 2019/2020.

The Director-General of RSSB, Regis Rugemanshuro, said that only 42,777 families made up of 198,644 people (18 percent) have so far managed to pay their subscription.

However, he blamed this on some peoples’ failure to grasp the value of paying for health insurance, where some believe that their immune system is strong enough.

“The subscription runs from July 1 to June 30 but so far, only 18 percent of the subscribers have paid. We would like others to follow their example and do the same because it is best to be prepared than to think of subscription when you are already sick,” he said. 

Different method

To raise the numbers, RSSB together with the local government ministry, are launching campaigns to sensitise the population about the value of paying their Mutuelle de Santé fees.

However, unlike addressing huge masses only door to door methods plus media messages will be used in line with the government’s social distancing guidelines.

The Minister of State in charge of Social Affairs, Ignatienne Nyirarukundo called on district authorities to ensure that their locals pay on time.

“We request districts to ensure that more people pay and also to make any necessary corrections in the subscribers’ bio data plus working on linking the information with the subscribers’ current address so that they are easy to reach,” she said.

Recurring issues

RSSB issues are not new. With annual contributions of Rwf32.8 billion, including government subsidies, by last year, the fund had a Rwf14.6bn Mutuelle de Santé funding deficit.

Last year, the government announced its intention to inject extra funding totaling to Rwf10bn to fix the deficit.

The government also announced an additional annual Rwf6b to the scheme through direct budget financing.

This is in addition to 100 per cent of the amount collected as penalties for trade of substandard products paid by the public institution in charge of standards as well as 10 per cent of all fees charged on services offered by gaming companies.

Other revenue streams for the insurance scheme include 10 per cent of fees collected from road traffic fines and between 2.5 per cent and 3 per cent of the telecommunication sector’s annual turnover.

Telecommunication companies alone are contributing Rwf3.5 billion to the scheme every year.

Other subsidies

There will also be 50 per cent of registration fees for pharmaceutical products and medical devices, as well as one 100 per cent of the amount collected as medical research fees paid by the ministry in charge of health.

In addition, the initiative will get 50 per cent of the fees collected for motor vehicle mechanical inspection paid by Rwanda National Police.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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