NHIS Biometric Membership Goes To Ashanti

The National Health Insurance Service (NH IS) has announced its intention to introduce the Biometric Membership Solution (BMS) in the Ashanti Region to streamline operations and increase efficiency in its activities and Health care delivery. Ashanti Region is the fourth region to have the new biometric registration system which will be nationalized by end of 2014, after Greater Accra region, Central Region and Easter Region. The BMS is an instant Biometric membership ID card, an initiative by the NHIS, which will improve experience of NHIS members and enhance easy access to health care delivery in Ghana. The Biometric ID card has a shade of dark blue and sky blue with a white strip and has NHIS logo at the top left corner and Coat of arms at the top-right corner. In a press briefing at the NHIS Ashanti Regional Head office in Kumasi, Mr. Perry Nelson, the director of management of information system (ICT) of the NHIS, said , from July 7, NHIS residents in the Ashanti Region, who are to register or renew their NHIS card at any NHIS registration outlet, will go through biometric formality, with their ten fingers to be scanned and subscribers will be given NHIS card shortly after registration, a move which Mr. Nelson said would enable NHIA to biometrically authenticate subscribers at health provider sites. This will discourage multiple claims submissions and increase efficiency in the scheme and health care delivery in the country. He said their personnel are on the ground and preparations are far advanced for the BMS to kick start in 37 Districts in the Ashanti Region on July 7 saying there is no time limit for the biometric registration. He disclosed that the BMS card shall contain the basic demographic information of patients as well as the biometric data of the subscriber and the new card shall be valid for five years subject to yearly renewal. According to the NHIS ICT Director, the old NHIS card is still operational and new entrants and renewals are those who will be issued with the BMS type upon registration or renewals. Mr. Nelson urged subscribers not to wait till one month or less to the expiration of their NHIS card before they go to their HNIS centre for renewal of the new biometric ID card. “Subscribers as usual will pay the premium for health insurance which has not changed and subscribers will not pay anything extra for the new card”, he noted. He added that every NHIS accredited service provider health facility will be given finger print scanner, ID card reader and a portable computer. He explained that at the health service, subscribers will present their card and their ten fingers will be scanned, saying ID card is authenticated against persons finger print and upon that, claims code is generated if match is found. “The Press should correct the masses when information about the BMS and NHIS in general is being skewed on their networks and papers” he urged the media. In order to manage the crowds and serve Ghanaians better, we advice that when the registration exercise is open, only pregnant women, Children under five years, the aged and the elderly above 70 years, and those who wish to register for the first time should visit the district offices to be registered. It said subscribers should remember to take their contact numbers, emergency details, and SSNIT card number, if any.