Uganda plans to set up a National Health Insurance Scheme subject to passing of the National Health Insurance Bill 2007.
In a speech read by the Vice President Edward Ssekandi at the just ended 44th Africa Insurance Organisation meeting at Speke Resort Munyonyo last week, President Yoweri Museveni said financing the national health insurance scheme shall be from government (40.7%), insurance contributions (52.9%) and direct income (6.4%).
“The proposed plan will have the scheme financed by 4% monthly contributions from an employee’s earnings, with the employer contributing an additional 4%,” he said.
Museveni said health insurance schemes have not only been limited to middle income countries such as China, India and South Africa as a number of countries on the continent such as Ghana and Rwanda have shown that implementation of a universal health coverage are followed by efforts to expand social protection through the use of insurance.
If the plan becomes realistic, then, Uganda will join Kenya and Rwanda in the East African Community that have already done so.
In 2010, Rwanda enrolled 8.5 million members in the national health insurance scheme known as Mutuelle de Santé, which depends on citizens’ contributions based on their economic status, though the government pays for those who cannot afford to.
According to the Rwandan government, contributors pay annual premiums of about US$6 per family member (increased in 2011 from US$2 per person) with a little service fee paid for each visit to a health centre or hospital.
In Kenya, more than 3.5 million people from the formal sector and a further 2.5 million in the informal sector are currently enrolled to the National Hospital Insurance Fund.
People in self-employment contribute Ksh500 (US$ 4.76) per month to the government-owned insurer while from those in formal employment pay from Ksh320 (US$3) to Ksh1, 700 (US$ 16.18) based on their earnings per month.
Uganda has been slow to introduce the NHIS due to disagreements among the stakeholders – the government, employees and insurer – over a section of clauses in the National Health Insurance Bill.
For instance, employers have argued that paying for their employees’ health insurance, in addition to the existing costs of paying 10 % contribution to National Social Security Fund for their staff per month, will increase the cost of doing business in the country.
Instead, they prefer that the government deducts 1%or 2% of the employee contribution to the NSSF towards the social scheme.
On the other hand, the insurance sector recommends that contributors choose a scheme of their liking as long as the benefits are not inferior to those prescribed by the law.
This years’ AIO conference themed “Furthering the financial inclusion agenda of African nations through insurance’ attracted more than 800 delegates from Africa, Asia Europe and USA.
Ibrahim Kaddunabbi Lubega, the chief executive officer at the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda, said access to finance empowers the communities and help reduce on income inequalities.
— Mark Keith Muhumuza (@mumakeith) May 25, 2017
CEO of IRA Uganda, Al Hajji Kaddunabbi is officially installed as President of the African Insurance Organisation pic.twitter.com/saF1jMQGP7
— IRA Uganda (@IRA_Uganda) May 24, 2017