By: L.N. Reklai
July 20, 2017 (Koror, Palau) FY 2016 audit report of the National Health Care Fund’s investment shows $2 million increase in 2016.
“The asset performance of HCF improved in 2016 resulting in additional investment of $2 million during the year,” stated the independent audit report of Social Security for FY 2016.
As of September 30, 2016, total National Health Care Fund (HCF) was $9,943,480 million. Of that amount, $1,345,695 million was held in cash and $8,497,785 million was invested.
According to the report, HCF investment and reserve fund is necessary due to the increasing cost of health services obtained outside of Palau.
HCF paid out $5,419,298 million in 2016 in reimbursement, an increase of $180,000 from $5,239,074 million in 2015. Report states Medical Savings Account (MSA) claims increased by 16% while National Health Insurance (NHI) decreased by 7%.
Audit report also cites slow and delayed claims from Belau National Hospital for inpatient and referral cases as cause of decrease in NHI payments in 2016.
Minister Dr. Emais Roberts in an interview stated that this issue will be resolved shortly. Health Care Fund Governing Committee had agreed to pay providers first and resolve billings with BNH.
In 2016, HCF authorized $680,000 to BNH to address backlog of 71 cases that have been referred but still pending evacuation.
The one of the main reasons for backlog was payment issue. Minister Roberts expressed his confidence that this will help to reduce the backlog issue and relieve the hospital from a big financial burden.
To address increasing outflow of money to outside providers for medical services, Minister Roberts stated that with HCF Board will be implementing regulations that will address this issue.
“We have four hospitals in the Philippines we send patients to. This way, there’s competition so that we can get best prices. Also, majority of our patients are sent to Taiwan which has much lower cost due to special agreement we have with Taiwan as well as better services,” stated Minister Roberts.
House of Delegates recently transmitted House bill 10-39-3S which seeks to separate the management of the national healthcare funding from the Social Security Administration, transferring the administration and investment to National Healthcare Financing Governing Committee. [/restrict]