President of the National Doctors Association, Dr. James Naipao, has issued a media release raising concerns over the newly launched national insurance scheme of which the underwriter of that scheme is an entity known as Pacific Health Assurance – a foreign company with its major shareholding being Singapore based.
Dr. Naipao raises some interesting questions which we hope will be answered by PHA but like every product on the market, consumers should carefully read the benefits, costs and terms and conditions.
Minister for Public Service Elias Kaparove who is in favor of the health insurance scheme has said that the decision to join the scheme is entirely an individual’s choice and the Government has in no way made it compulsory for public servants to join.
Here is the media release.
MEDIA RELEASE by National Doctors Association of Papua New Guinea
Statements released to the media and public is misleading by National Health Insurance Scheme underwriter – PNG Pacific Health Assurance;
1. 110,000 public servants who have signed up already for this health insurance scheme is misleading. Not all have signed to date.,
2. When premiums are paid for health services paid, excess will be deducted from public servants salaries. Who does that? This is misleading.,
3. The names of public hospitals and private hospitals in the newspapers and brochure produced was done without the concern of these respective health facilities. No MOA is in place with these Hospitals. This is misleading.,
4. The Partner network of the company in PNG included hospitals such as Lae International Hospitals and Port Moresby’s Pacific International Hospital. No undertaking was done between PHA and these hospitals. This is misleading.,
5. Public Servants will be given preferential treatment at public hospitals is misleading. Public Hospitals absolutely do not treat patients selectively. It treats patients from the population whether in the village, employed or unemployed equally without preference. This statement is also misleading.,
6. Why would Insurance Money be paid to Public Hospitals. Hospital are funded by recurrent budgets from the GoPNG to provide health service to the people of Papua New Guinea. Now, this government is trying to marginalized its people. Is it the GoPNG’s duty to insure all 8.0 million plus people of PNG. This decision is now classing the people of this country.,
7. PNG Health Assurance Company is partnering with a local Medical Company. This local medical company is not listed in the IPA Registry. What does it make of it now?,
8. What is the track record of PHA? PNG does not know of this.,
9. Who owns this PHA? If it is foreign owned, what is the track record of this Insurance Company overseas? The public does not know this.,
10. When insurance companies insures itself, it protects itself from liabilities. It does not partner with other insurance companies unless it is a mother, son or daughter company. PHA must not mislead the public.,
11. The GoPNG primarily generates revenue through taxes for service delivery to the people of PNG. Now, it has become selective. It should think people first then being selective.
12. Public Hospitals do not charge surgical fees to the ceiling of K6,000 per surgery or to far too less as K200.00. This figures are totally surprising to public Hospitals. Who came up with these figures.,
13. Private Hospitals charge surgical fees can go far higher than K6,000 per surgery. This figures released are totally surprising to Private Hospitals too. Who came up with these figures?,
14. Patients do not stay 60 to 90 days per year in a hospital. How did PHA come up with this statistic?,
15. There are established Health Insurance Companies since independence in this country, and did the GoPNG consulted these companies. Did the GoPNG tried getting them on board? It seems not because it was focused on PHA.,
16. Some tertiary health services are not offered in PNG. PHA has not thought of overseas referrals where established Health Insurance Companies in PNG do refer their clients overseas with the same kindly of proposed deductions per year that PHA is alluding too.,
17. 110, 000 public servants paying fortnightly deduction will amount close to less or over K300 million kina per year. This figure is huge for PHA, and it is more less a free money for this Insurance Company. Public Servants, before you jump into this bandwagon, allow Parliament to deliberate on this. NEC must not deliberate on this only.
18. Can the People of Papua New Guinea know the reputation of PHA overseas? Or, was it born overnight in PNG?
Yes, PNG enmass needs the Health Insurance. It must do it right for PNG.
Selective Insurance belongs to private companies, groups and association, and etc. For PNG, GoPNG must do it holistically.
Dr. James Naipao
National Doctors Association
Pic Credit (BSP and Dr. James Naipao)