The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) paid nearly $6 million to provide health care to those enrolled in the National Health Insurance (NHI) program between April 2017 and June 2018, a recent audit revealed.
The audit was conducted by Baker Tilly Gomez Chartered Accountants and is dated June 30, 2018.
It examines the authority’s finances for the period April 24, 2017 to June 30, 2018.
According to the report, “For the period ended June 30, 2018, the authority paid $5,978,224 to 37 registered healthcare providers.”
During this period, there were 35,731 individuals enrolled in NHI.
That number has since increased to 45,821 as of December 2018.
Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands yesterday described the report as “significant” and said the audit accurately reflects “some of the incredible work that has been done by the team at NHI”.
When asked if the nearly $6 million cost was unusual, the minister said, “I don’t think you can come up with any conclusion and at the end of the day the benefits in the initial phase of NHI [were] for primary care services provided in the private sector by private practitioners to enrollees of the NHI plan.
“And so, the expectation would be that a significant amount of expenditure for NHI was going to be on fees provided to those practices. The additional charges as time goes on would be for diagnostic studies, lab tests, medications, etc. But you know, this is a moving target. So, as NHI expands in terms of size, in terms of scope, the line items are going to further separate.”
The audit also revealed that the NHIA spent $988,616 on payroll, $70,600 on national insurance and $56,037 on allowances and other benefits.
Consultancy service fees and costs related to advertising cost the NHIA a combined total of $906,430.
A $14 million grant from the government was the only noted source of income for the NHIA during the period.
However, the government has since approved $30 million in funding for the authority for the 2018/2019 fiscal year.
More than 160,000 individuals are expected to receive coverage from NHI when the program is expanded in July 2020.
The NHIA has pegged the cost of NHI at $130 million per year.