Uganda's universal health insurance delayed again

 

Thirteen years ago, Uganda began plans to launch a compulsory public Social Health Insurance (SHI) scheme, and whether Uganda launches it this year, will depend on politics. Asuman Lukwago of the Ministry of Health says the scheme will start operating this year and they are in the final stages of drafting the law.

Under the National Health Insurance Bill 2007, which is still with the Ministry of Finance awaiting issuance of a certificate of financial implication, civil servants and formally employed Ugandans will be required to make mandatory contributions to a National Social Health Insurance (SHI) Scheme.

If, or when, the law is passed, an independent administrative body will be set up with a mandate to collect SHI contributions. Those already privately insured will either choose to be insured twice, or abandon private insurance since SHI will be mandatory.

The plan is to initially cover a 25% of the 34 million Ugandans, whereby employees are required to contribute 4% of their gross salary to which employers add 4% making the total contribution to the scheme 8%. That 25% is formally employed people.

The informally employed sector will be incorporated to the scheme later under the Community Health Insurance initiative.

There are 13 private providers of health insurance and less than 10% of the population has cover.

Many doubt that it will happen in 2015 as Uganda lacks the physical infrastructure to support it, with not enough hospitals or doctors, and poor availability of drugs.

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