Is the Pro-Poor Premium Exemption Policy of Ghana’s NHIS Reducing Disparities Among the Elderly?
Under the act that established the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), persons 70 years of age or above are automatically enrolled in the scheme and therefore can access health services free at the point of use. This suggests that the elderly who are unable to afford the premiums of private health insurance can enrol in the NHIS thereby eliminating the possibility of disparities in health insurance coverage. Notwithstanding, few studies have examined health insurance coverage among the elderly in Ghana. The lack of studies on the elderly in Ghana may be due to limited data on this important demographic group. Using data from the Study on Global Ageing and Health and applying logit models, this paper investigates whether the pro-poor exemption policy is eliminating disparities among the elderly aged 70 years and older. The results show that disparities in insurance coverage among the elderly are based on respondents’ socio-economic circumstances, mainly their wealth status. The study underscores the need for eliminating health access disparities among the elderly and suggests that the current premium exemptions alone may not be the solution to eliminating disparities in health insurance coverage among the elderly.