Medical Aid Insurer gives cashback to Williams Banda

Fast-growing local medical aid insurance company, Wella Medical Aid Society (WEMAS) has lived up its promise of paying cash-back to its customers who have used less than 25 percent of their contributions in a year.

The latest to be given back his monetary contributions is Williams Banda who is spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance who also wears another hat in the public domain as Super League of Malawi (Sulom) General Secretary.

All smiles: Williams Banda receiving his cashback from Wella Medical Aid Insurance.

Banda, who joined as a member of WEMAS on August 1, 2020, officially received a cheque worth K90,000 during a function which was held yesterday [August 3.2021] at WEMAS Headquarters in Lilongwe’s Area 3.

Banda was all smiles soon after receiving the cheque.

“I feel greatly honoured to be given this money. In fact, when I got a phone call from WEMAS, my heart thumped violently as I thought maybe I have jumped my monthly contribution and they would like to remind me.

“But the phone call was to convey the good news that I was eligible to be paid a cashback, having not utilised much of my contributions over the past year since I joined,” said the soft-spoken Banda.

Banda added that it was high time all other Malawians joined WEMAS which he said has proven to be the best local medical aid insurance company which has its products tailor made to help average Malawians.

On his part, WEMAS Chief Executive Officer Macdonald Wella said the company is confident that they will break all market barriers with their innovative products such as the payment of cashbacks to their members.

Wella said a similar cashback was also paid to one of its client in Blantyre on June 1, 2021.

Wella said the company has also entered into contracts with about 150 hospitals and pharmacies national wide, adding that they have also rolled out biometric systems for claims which is first of its kind in Malawi.

“We are the only firm which is using a biometric system where by a member only use a fingerprint without passing through a cumbersome process of filing forms and we are only one on the market using paperless claims,” said Wella.

He said the company was also motivated to venture into medical aid insurance business in order to fill the glaring gaps that are existing in the medical insurance industry.

For many years, Malawi has not have had so many medical aid organisations to provide a variety of services and the coming in of Wella Medical Aid into the picture has widen the horizon and has given the citizenry unlimited freedom to choose.

In May 2015 the Malawian Ministry of Health (MOH) contacted the German Development Cooperation to seek technical assistance from the P4H Network for Social Health Protection for an “Assessment of the appropriateness and feasibility of National Health Insurance in Malawi” against two alternative options: continuing with a tax (and donor)-funded National Health Service, and introducing a purchaser-provider split without a revenue collection function.

A health financing benchmarking matrix was agreed with MOH, with six domains corresponding to six objectives: revenue mobilisation, technical efficiency, equity, financial risk protection, policy coordination, and health outcomes.

The assessment comprised key informant interviews with Malawian stakeholders, a review of the relevant literature and datasets, rapid assessments of the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and the Unified Beneficiary Registry (UBR), and projections of the National Health Insurance Scheme’s (NHIS) revenue collection costs and benefits.

A key finding was that introducing NHIS in Malawi would increase revenues for health, but these would come predominantly from the formal sector and would be unlikely to cover the health sector funding gap.

The performance of existing poverty identification and targeting mechanisms was not commensurate with the requirements of a NHIS.

Incentives to enrol in NHI are insufficient to reach scale unless service fees be introduced, which would negatively affect equity and financial risk protection.

The assessment identified the Purchaser Scenario as the most favourable reform model.

Many countries in Africa are implementing Social Health Insurance (SHI).
According to the Global Health Expenditure Database, in 2016, 22 of the 47 countries in the sub-Saharan Africa Region have had income from compulsory health insurance greater than zero (19 of the 22 are classified as SHI).

At least two other countries, Madagascar and Zambia, are currently developing SHI legislation (information obtained through the P4H Network).

In Malawi, interest in SHI dates back to at least 2011 and developed out of the desire to increase domestic resource generation and reduce dependency on donor funding.

Since then several working papers have been produced on (S)HI in Malawi.

With Wella and other players in the picture, Malawi’s health insurance looks on the right path to progress.

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