Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) says it will not increase premiums for adherents of Community-Based Health Insurance (CBHI) ahead of the pension body’s takeover of the insurance scheme.
The scheme, popularly known as Mutuelle de Sante, is expected next financial year to be taken over by RSSB, and the latter has promised improved services.
Current premiums range from Rwf3, 000 to Rwf7, 000 depending on the economic status of beneficiaries and Dr Daniel Ufitikirezi, the Managing Director of RSSB, yesterday, moved to dispel rumors that the transfer could affect the cost of insurance.
Ufitikirezi was speaking during a workshop that brought together different officials from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders, to discuss a smooth transition ahead of the takeover.
Currently, the scheme is managed by decentralized entities through the Ministry of Local Government with support from the Health Ministry.
The scheme, which has previously covered up to 90 per cent of Rwandans, has recently been dogged by inefficiencies, with subscribers claiming being discriminated, against especially in acquisition of medicine.
During the fiscal year 2013-14, the rate of subscription was 73 per cent, according to figures from the Ministry of Health.
“We will not change the existing premiums but instead we shall streamline services which I hope will motivate subscribers to regain confidence in the scheme,” Ufitikirezi said.
He added that they would also embark on a sensitisation campaign to ensure people change attitude and subscribe, especially those that are uninsured.
“One only recognises that premiums are not high after all when they fall sick.”
He said that some districts that saw sharp decline in the subscription rates had witnessed delays in restocking drugs as a result.
This, he said, affected most those that had paid their contributions on time, which is unfair.
Paying pharmacies on time will improve customer experience, said Ufitikirezi.
During the meeting, a report on a study of the state of Mutuelle de Sante was tabled before the stakeholders.
The report recommends centralisation of Mutuelle de Sante contribution process to eliminate local players collecting premiums.
It also recommends that RSSB should carry out studies between every three to five years to inform future decisions.
The public and private health insurances would contribute 5 per cent of gross premiums to CBHI instead of 1 per cent based on evidence and analyses. Under the new RSSB system, service providers and pharmacies will be reimbursed on time and the system is being automated.
The report also recommended use of modern IT tools like mobile phone-based cash transfer services for efficiency.
Another recommendation is that prior to takeover, government clears all the arrears accumulated by districts to ensure a clean start.