The Chief Executive Officer of Premier Health Insurance has played down the assertion that private health insurance is too expensive to be afforded by low-income earners.
On the contrary, Percy Ansah says insurance companies, particularly Premier Health Insurance have devised specific products to cater to the health needs of low-income earners.
He cited the Teachers and Government workers Plan which specifically targets low-income earners in the public sector as a typical example of how private health insurance is gradually becoming a pro-poor health insurance intervention.
Mr Ansah was speaking at the second Commonwealth Speaker Series under the theme: “Problems, Challenges and Solutions to Africa’s healthcare provision and systems.”
The Commonwealth Speaker Series was to tease out the many challenges that have dogged Africa’s and indeed Ghana’s health sector.
Institutions and personalities from within the various strands of the health sector, including award-winning journalist Seth Kwame Boateng.
The reporter’s documentary led to building of a new baby and mother unit at the Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital) gathered at the British Council to attempt finding a solution to Ghana’s sick healthcare system.
Issues of mental health, poor health infrastructure with its attendant challenges, how to maintain standards and respecting protocols within the various hospitals, specialist training for doctors were some of the key issues that engaged the attention of the stakeholders.
The issue of the challenges with the National Health Insurance Scheme and the role of private health insurance also came under strict scrutiny.
Some of the panel members, as well as those in the audience, wanted a more efficient and affordable private health insurance to complement the National Health Scheme and to provide quality healthcare for all.
Mr Ansah believes the concerns of the public are legitimate but stated efforts are being made to make private health insurance generally affordable to get low-income earners on board.
He noted that whilst many of the private insurance companies targeted big companies, his outfit decided to look at the low-income earners.
“Every company was targeting corporate institutions who can readily pay and can afford. We devised a product targeted at Ghanaian teachers in the public sector. The premium they are paying is like ten times less than what we are charging corporate institutions,” he stated.
Even though they pay low monthly premiums, Mr Ansah said Premier is leveraging on the large numbers of these public sector workers to keep the policy going.
Touching on why politicians and other influential Ghanaians take the next available flight out of the country to seek healthcare, Seth Kwame Boateng says the issue has to do with infrastructure deficit as well as trust and cultural problems.
He is convinced not too many of the Ghanaian politicians would want to have their health issues discussed in public and many do not trust the system to keep their health files away from the prying eyes of opponents.
He also called for a close collaboration between the health institutions and the media in order to help improve the health sector.