New digital technology to ease community health based insurance payment
By Susan Babijja
The Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) has introduced a new subscribing scheme through which community will pay their annual health insurance.
The mobicash scheme is a result of partnership entered between RSSB and Mobicash; a mobile solutions provider, and is designed to ease subscription to the community-based health insurance (CBHI) scheme, Mutuelle de Santé.
This shift to the mobile application system of payment, stakeholders say, will be a huge relief to subscribers.
According to the RSSB Director-General, Jonathan Gatera, the new scheme will benefit from MobiCash’s growing network of about 700 agents spread across the country who work with 348 SACCOs (savings and credit organisations), 18 post office facilities, and all cyber cafes.
Gatera says the mobile subscription will be a more effective way for insurance managers to track or identify whoever has paid and under which social stratification (Ubudehe) category they belong to. A subscriber will receive a receipt and will receive a message on his or her phone, he said
Members of households in categories two and three pay Rwf3, 000 (Approx. UShs 13,300) a year while those in category 4, about 0.5 per cent of the country’s population, pay Rwf7, 000 (Approx.UShs30, 000) per family member.
Gatera said Mobicash will make it easier for insurance providers to process the data since, once a person pays through this technology, the money goes direct to the RSSB bank account. He said this will reduce movements with money to different agents as it makes processing easier for them to get their cards on time.
The Chief Executive Officer of Mobicash, Emile Kinuma, said it is his company’s responsibility to ensure that every member who subscribes for Mutuelle is registered on time to make. He says this will ease the work of RSSB not only in giving cards but also giving safety means to money.
According to officials, subscription to Mutuelle has also increased by 3 per cent from an estimated 81 per cent in 2015/16. In the Financial Year 2014/15, just 75 per cent of Rwandans subscribed to Mutuelle de Santé.
Payments for Mutuelle are paid depending on individual household’s Ubudehe category (social stratification), and people from households in category one are considered indigents and their fees are paid by the government, at Rwf2, 000 per person.
The health insurance scheme suffered from managerial problem a few years ago, which led to a free-fall in subscription from members of the public. The government transferred the universal health insurance to RSSB and it has steadily recovered. Now looking forward to hit the dream target of 100 per cent Rwandans with medical insurance, either under Mutuelle or any other cover.
Mutuelle de Santé is the most common health insurance for Rwandans, affordable and inclusive medical insurance; the scheme has in the recent past faced criticism from some subscribers who say it is ineffective in terms of the medical bills they cover. It covers at least 9.6 million people, especially those living in rural areas with inadequate income in order to access medications.
Latest figures from RSSB indicate that insurance subscriptions for the Financial Year 2016/17 are up to 84.2 per cent, two months to the closure of the subscription timeline. However, this is a positive trend compared to 2015/16, which closed when the subscription was at 81.6 per cent.