Uganda: Committee Finds Gaps in Health Insurance Bill

The parliamentary Committee on Health has revealed that the Health Insurance Bill that was presented to Parliament is not clear, especially on the contributions to the Fund.

Mr Ronald Bagaga, the legal counsel to the Committee, said although the Bill states how the contribution from different sections of the population will be arrived at, it does not indicate which percentage will be contributed by each of those sections.

"Clause 21 of the Bill states that contributions to the Fund will be by any person who attains the age of 18 and is ordinarily a resident in Uganda. For a salaried employee deductions will be from a wage or salary by the employer and a contribution by the employer (Note: akin to NSSF). For a self-employed person an annual contribution is determined based on total income, by the board in consultation with the ministers of Health and Finance," Mr Bagaga said yesterday during a media engagement on National health insurance scheme in Kampala.

Earlier, the Ministry of Health had said employees in the formal sector will be subjected to 4 per cent deductions from their salaries while their employers will contribute 1 per cent to the health scheme.

Individuals in the informal sector would pay a proposed Shs100,000 annually.

However, according to the Committee, these figures were included in the Bill presented before Parliament.

Nevertheless, Mr Bagaga said: "We are going to engage with the Health Minister because it is debatable and not clear."

Dr Sarah Byakika, the commissioner for planning at the Ministry of Health, said the percentages will be in the regulation of the Bill but not policies and that they will be agreed on by Parliament.

Dr Michael Bukenya, the Committee chairperson, said they agreed on what to present and they soon will interface with the government who are the sponsors of the Bill.

He added that they have held discussions with different stakeholders and are now in the process of writing the report.

Background

Cabinet last year approved the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) 2019 that will require all Ugandans above 18 years to contribute to the scheme before accessing health services across the country.

The scheme is a must-pay-for by all Ugandans and foreigners in the country.

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