Subscription fees for community based health insurance (Mutuelle de Santé) could soon be increased as government moves to improve the scheme’s efficiency, officials at the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) have said.
The recent national leadership retreat recommended a review of Mutuelle de Santé, the director general of RSSB, Jonathan Gatera, said in an interview Monday.
Mutuelle premiums are paid depending on household’s Ubudehe category (social stratification), with people from households in category one are considered as indigents and whose fees are paid by the Government, at Rwf2,000 per household member, while households in category two and three pay Rwf3,000.
Households in category 4, about 0.5 per cent of the country’s population, pay Rwf7, 000 per family member.
Gatera explained that the current fee is too low compared to the cost of treatment.
“The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning is covering that gap as we look for ways to make community- based health insurance scheme sustainable,” he said.
“The national leadership retreat called for review of Mutuelle contributions in a bid to improve health services to subscribers and ensure effectiveness of the scheme,”
The review is supposed to be completed within the next one year, he said.
An estimated 84 per cent of Rwandans subscribed to Mutuelle de Santé for their health insurance this financial year 2016/2017, up from 75 per cent in the Financial Year 2014/15.
Gatera noted that the leadership retreat resolved on how to deliver good services to the people through Mutuelle de Santé.
“We are going to see how we can improve that in a way it will not affect the hospitals negatively,” he added.
Gatera said that the study will determine by how much they could increase which should be affordable to everyone.
However, some subscribers who talked to The New Times questioned the justification for the proposed hike.
Saidat Umwali, a resident of Nyarugenge District, said, “We pay our Mutuelle de Santé subscription every year but when we go to health centres we find that some cases are not covered by mutuelle.”
Theoneste Maniragaba, a resident of Gasabo District, wondered why Mutuelle de Santé card only covers a few diseases.
“Let them give us good services, to justify the increase otherwise this will not work for us,” Maniragaba said.
Jean d’Amour Nsengiyaremye, another subscriber, said the current fee was already high for some users, hence no need to increase.
“It is not easy for some people to get that money, especially when you have a big family; I wonder where we will get the money from if they increase,” he said.