Rwanda: Lawmakers Scrap Fines From Mutuelle De Santé Draft Law

People will not be fined for missing the deadline for paying contributions to the community-based health insurance scheme commonly known as Mutuelle de Santé.

While voting the draft law amending the 2015 law governing the organisation of the community-based health insurance scheme on Tuesday, August 4, Member of Parliament removed the article which proposes fines to defaulters.

The bill had proposed a prime minister's order introducing extra fees for a mutuelle de santé users who have not paid all their contributions to the scheme by December 31 of each financial year.

MP Christine Muhongayire, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Affairs, which was assigned to scrutinise the bill, said that under the amended bill a person is entitled to health insurance services when they have paid up to 75 per cent of their contribution.

However, a person who will not have paid full contribution to the scheme by December 31, will not continue getting health services covered by the scheme.

In the Plenary sitting of the Chamber of Deputies held on Wednesday, July 29, Uzziel Ndagijimana, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said the 'extra fee' was meant to motivate citizens to pay their contributions on time.

This, he said, would also enable smooth operations of the scheme.

MP Damien Nyabyenda wanted to know what happens when a member of mutuelle de santé is unable to pay the remaining 25 per cent of the contribution and have no money to settle their medical bills.

MP Muhongayire said that the person will be considered as the one who has not made any contribution to the scheme.

"This is insurance. If a person has not made the required contribution to it, they are not entitled to health services under its coverage. What we wish for Rwandans is for them to have insurance coverage so they receive timely treatment and be healthy," she said.

MP John Ruku-Rwabyoma recommended that people who are financial vulnerable should be supported.

Established in 2003, Mutuelle de Santé seeks to offer medical cover to people with low incomes and those who are in informal employment.

The scheme covers healthcare services for more than 80 per cent of Rwanda's 12 million people.

As of February 13, 2020, the scheme's coverage rate was 78.6 per cent with more than 9 million beneficiaries.

Households that are relatively well-off contribute Rwf7,000 per each person every year with those in the low income bracket paying Rwf3,000 each and the Government covers Rwf3,000 for every person from the economically vulnerable households.

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