On May 1, the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) ceased to cover the standard 85 per cent of the bills of RAMA insurance scheme members that receive services at private polyclinics or hospitals without a referral.
The new directive is already in force, at least in some private health facilities, while others are still reluctant to comply.
RAMA insurance card holders have been advised to only go to private polyclinics or private hospitals on referral as per the new policy, or risk footing a bigger bill.
The scheme managers say the move seeks to ensure proper management and sustainability of the Fund, and that it was prompted by increases in rates by private health facilities over the past two months. RAMA scheme is mainly for working-class people employed in the civil service and corporate private firms.
But now subscribers must think twice before paying their doctors a visit or end up benefiting from only a small fraction of their cover.
There are special cases that need thorough consideration. Such as cases of heart attack. Will private facilities turn away such a patient for lack of referral?
The Rwanda Private Medical Practitioners Association insists the new policy is unfair and out of touch with reality. As a result, there is a standoff between the Rwanda Social Security Fund and the private health practitioners.
There is need for further consultations to ensure the new policy does not end up hurting those it’s supposed to serve.
There is need to urgently reach a consensus to avoid any undesirable impact.