Specialized medical services to be included in Mutuelle de Santé

By Esther Muhozi
On 6 February 2024 at 03:01

Government officials have revealed plans to integrate specialized medical services, such as cancer treatment and kidney transplants, into the community-based health insurance scheme (CBHI), commonly known as Mutuelle de Santé, starting from 2025.

The Ministry of Health and the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) disclosed this during a session with the Lower House’s Committee on Unity, Human Rights, and Fight against Genocide on February 5. The discussion aimed to address issues highlighted in the National Commission for Human Rights’ report for the fiscal year 2022/2023.

The concerns raised in the report include the limited access to specialized medical services for individuals with disabilities and the elderly, as well as certain medications or treatments not covered by Mutuelle de Santé. Health Minister Sabin Nsanzimana explained that, in collaboration with RSSB, they are considering expanding the range of medical services covered by Mutuelle de Santé, recognizing that some were previously excluded due to financial constraints.

Minister Nsanzimana emphasized the ministry’s desire to include as many services as possible in the Mutuelle de Santé health package. However, he acknowledged the need to assess the fund’s capacity, with a focus on increasing it to accommodate additional services. As an example, he mentioned assistive devices like prostheses, stating that the goal is to have them covered in hospitals across all districts by 2030, requiring a budget of Rw7.5 billion per year starting in 2024, totaling Rwf 52 billion by 2030 for basic assistive devices alone.

Louise Kanyonga, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of RSSB, highlighted that CBHI covered over 90 percent of Rwandans in 2023, with benefits increasing by 15 percent annually. She noted the scheme’s improved financial standing, shifting from liabilities to surplus due to additional resources averaging Rwf 32 billion annually. However, Kanyonga cautioned that without further improvements in financing mechanisms, the scheme might return to a deficit state, particularly if medical services expenses continue to rise.

Kanyonga pointed out that Mutuelle de Santé collected Rwf 85 billion in contributions in 2023, paying out Rwf 75 billion in benefits to cover health services for its members. To ensure sustainability, she stressed the need for additional funding, estimating a potential Rwf17 billion loss in the scheme over the next three years. The projected loss could result from covering expensive treatments like cancer medication and kidney transplants, alongside the escalating cost of healthcare.

To address the potential deficit, RSSB, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and other partners, is exploring innovative solutions. Kanyonga mentioned that discussions have progressed significantly, with the possibility of generating an additional Rwf 25 billion to Rwf 28 billion per year through new revenue sources to support the Mutuelle de Santé scheme. She expressed confidence that necessary actions would be taken by the next year.

Rwanda plans to include specialized medical services in Mutuelle de Santé.