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Frequently asked Questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. What is BEPHA? The acronym BEPHA stands for the Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province Health Assistance. It is a community owned and managed health financing organization operating on the basis of solidarity and mutual assistance against health related risks. It is a non-profit making and apolitical organization registered as a Common Initiative Group. The four Bishops of Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province (Buea, Bamenda, Mamfe and Kumbo dioceses) are the Promoters of BEPHA.
  2. Why is it termed a solidarity scheme? This is because it involves many people who contribute to a common pool, as is the case with TROUBLE FUNDS, to assist one another in health related matters. It is a scheme of risk-pooling whereby the healthier and richer persons in the community care and pay, with their own health scheme membership contributions, some of the medical expenditure of the sicker and poorer (underprivileged) members.
  3. What do Members and their Dependents benefit from BEPHA? The benefits are enormous. BEPHA offers the following benefits: pays 75% of Out-patient, Hospitalization, Booking, Delivery, and Surgical Operation bills. Each service has a limit (ceiling) up to which one can benefit. For example it is 75% up to 15,000 FCFA for Out-patient consultation, and 75% up to 70,000 FCFA for Surgery.
  4. How many times can one benefit within a year? The maximum number of times one can benefit varies from one Diocese to another. In Buea and Kumbo it is 8 times; in Bamenda it is 5 times; and in Mamfe it is 6 times.
  5. What is the Registration Fee? A member registers with the sum of 1000 FCFA.
  6. What is the Premium or Annual Contribution? After a member has registered with a thousand francs, he is expected to pay the Annual Contribution for himself and at least three other persons in his Household or Group. The Annual Contribution per person is 3500 FCFA in Kumbo; 4000 FCFA in Bamenda; and 5000 FCFA in Buea and Mamfe.
  7. When do I start benefiting after I have registered and have paid my Annual Contribution? When you register and pay your annual contribution, you are placed under an Observation or Waiting Period of a month or two. This period begins from the day you pay either partial or full Annual Contribution for your family or group. After the one or two months, if you fall sick, you can then rush to any of our partner hospitals with your Membership Card and receive medical care on condition that you have completed your annual contribution. It is only after one has been in BEPHA for at least six months that he/she can benefit from Delivery and Surgical Operation.
  8. Can one pay his Annual Contributions in installments? Yes. Payment of Annual Contributions or Premiums can be made in two or three installments, but not more than three installments. It is only upon completion of the Annual Contributions for the BEPHA Member and Dependents that any member of that Household or Group can benefit from the services of BEPHA.
  9. Is there a limit to entry into BEPHA? The minimum number of persons who can join BEPHA is four. We welcome groups and institutions like NJANGIs, Colleges, Congregations, Company workers, Social groups, Religious as well as Cultural Associations.
  10. If I am alone with no family members and want to be registered, what should I do? Since BEPHA is a family or group health scheme, you are advised to look for three other persons. If not you shall pay a Registration Fee of 1000 FCFA and pay an annual contribution for four persons which is the minimum number accepted by BEPHA per family. The other three persons must not necessarily be your blood relations. So you can join with your neighbours or friends to make up for the four or more persons who are required for registration into BEPHA.
  11. What shall I present to the hospital before benefiting? As soon as you complete the Premiums or Annual Contribution for your family or group, and if you have submitted two passport size colour photographs and photocopy of National Identity card or Birth Certificate for each person, Beneficiary Cards will be issued to all your family or group members. When any of you falls sick, present his/her BEPHA Beneficiary Card to any of our Partner Health Units  for verification before benefiting. In case of an emergency you are given 24 hours to present your Beneficiary Card.
  12. Who can join BEPHA? BEPHA is for all; whether healthy, sick, young, old, rich or poor and irrespective of one’s religion, culture, race and tribe. For example, when a mosquito (which causes Malaria) wants to bite a person, it does not care about who you are; it does not ask for one’s religion or tribe.
  13. Which Hospitals or Health Units can I visit to be treated when I fall sick? In each diocese there are selected hospitals and health centers which have been chosen to serve BEPHA beneficiaries and give them quality medical care.
  14. If the BEPHA partner hospital I visited cannot take care of my illness, where shall I be referred to and who takes care of my bills? You would be referred to another BEPHA partner hospital. In that case, BEPHA shall still take care of the bills. But if you are sent to a hospital which is not in partnership with BEPHA it will no longer be the responsibility of BEPHA. Health care is limited for now within the Diocese of registration. We hope that when BEPHA will be harmonized to reflect its name, people can benefit in any Diocese within the Church Province of Bamenda.
  15. If my drugs are not available in the partner hospital, what happens? First BEPHA only pays for Essential and Generic drugs. So BEPHA shall pay for the services and drugs offered you at the partner hospital. You can only be referred to another partner hospital to buy your remaining drugs where BEPHA shall also pay 75%. There is no reimbursement of drugs bought outside the partner hospital pharmacy.
  16. If a registered Member does not fall sick within a year after contributing, what happens with his money? Contributions of Members are used to pay bills for those who fall sick. BEPHA is a solidarity fund and if a Member does not fall sick, he/she will thank God for the good health and also for having helped another person who was sick through your contribution. But remember that illness doesn’t announce its coming. If you are not sick this time around, you may fall sick in another year because no one can escape from it. In BEPHA you are saving for your family against unplanned health problems which often come unannounced at the time when you may not have the money. Therefore when contributing to BEPHA, bear in mind that your contribution may help you or another person. This is true for every Adherent of BEPHA.
  17. When a registered Member or Dependent dies, how do you make up the minimum of four Adherents if the number now drops below four? If an adherent dies and the number drops below four, the family or group is advised to make up the number to four. If the family cannot make this up, they are required to pay the annual contribution for four persons.
  18. In the case of an accident what happens? Accidents are emergencies and are catered for; but such persons must present their Beneficiary Cards before BEPHA is charged to pay the bills. Also in the case of emergency, one is given 24 hours to produce his Beneficiary Card.
  19. Can people with terminal illnesses register into BEPHA? Yes. They register in the same way others do and benefit in the same way because they can still suffer from malaria, pneumonia, typhoid, accidents or any other illness. Payments of bills for cases like Diabetes, Hypertension, Arthritis, Orthopedic care, Renal dialysis, Physiotherapy, Dental surgeries, Contact lenses, Routine Medical check-up and Laboratory examination for healthy persons are not covered. Conditions such as Diabetes, Hypertension, Arthritis, Rheumatism, etc can only be covered if the drugs prescribed to the patients are Essential and Generic drugs, and if these drugs are available in the health unit pharmacy.
  20. Can someone register in Buea diocese and benefit in any other diocese? No. For now one can only benefit within the diocese where one registers. But in the nearest future when we must have registered about twenty five thousand people into BEPHA in each of the dioceses, a network will be established so that when you register in one diocese you can benefit from the services of BEPHA in any of the four dioceses.
  21. Who are the owners or sponsors of BEPHA? BEPHA is an initiative of the four Bishops of the Bamenda Church Province who are the Promoters. But BEPHA is managed by the Members through a General Assembly that elects a Board of Directors, Control Committee, Executive Committee, and a Health Committee. The funds for the payment of bills come from the Annual Contribution paid by the Members and their Dependents. The registered Members are those who actually own and manage BEPHA. However, BEPHA receives technical support from MISEREOR - Germany, the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp – Belgium, the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), and the Ministry of Public Health.
  22. How is BEPHA different from other Insurance Policies? BEPHA is a non-profit making solidarity health assistance scheme - owned and democratically managed by its Members. The members sit in an annual General Assembly and elect officials into its different organs. There are also recruited personnel like Managers, Accountants with offices in the community that operate on a daily basis. You and the other members can visit the offices for verification. BEPHA explains its policy in its entirety and nothing is hidden from you. With BEPHA, you benefit 75% of your health paid there and then in the hospital. There is no need for a follow up for re-imbursement after treatment or moving around with receipts for BEPHA to pay you back. Unlike BEPHA, other insurance policies only re-imburse the indemnity of their clients after a very long process and period, and sometimes this indemnity is never received.
  23. How can one be sure that our money will not be mismanaged? Measures have been taken to ensure viability and sustainability. The Bishops being the Promoters ensure a just and transparent management supervised by the Control Committee. Internal and external controls or audits are being made to check and evaluate the system.
  24. How will BEHPA check fraud? It is true that some people may attempt to fraud and this fraud may occur at different levels. It could be from the managers of BEPHA, members or partner hospitals. But this is being checked at different levels (hospital fraud is checked by our medical advisors, management by our Control Committee, and external auditors). But if it happens, appropriate sanctions will be meted to defaulters following the BEPHA Constitution.
  25. What happens if a Member dies? Presently there is no benefit package for funerals. But it is hoped that when BEPHA grows, this will be considered.
  26. Where do I register my family now? Registration is done at the BEPHA Diocesan offices and branch offices, at BEPHA partner hospitals or to any officially recognized BEPHA Mobilizer, Field Manager or Registration Agent in the field.
  27. How do I know that BEPHA is true or real? So far, about four thousand people and above within the Ecclesiastical Province have benefited from the services of BEPHA. The Catholic Church does not tell lies or deceive people. Find out more for yourself.
  28. Is it possible for one to register into more than one Mutual Health Organization? Yes. It is advantageous for you. In this way, you multiply your chances of benefiting and reduce the burden of expenditure on health for you and your family.
  29. How does BEPHA assure appropriate prescriptions? Clinical guidelines and a handbook on Essential and Generic drugs are given to every doctor who consults and prescribes for BEPHA beneficiaries. The Medical Adviser goes through the treatment forms to make sure the prescriptions are appropriate.
  30. What does BEPHA seek to achieve? People should go to the hospital in good time, to have quality health care at affordable cost, poverty alleviation, to reduce death rate especially infant mortality, to reduce the rate of borrowing and to reduce the huge unpaid medical bills accumulated at the hospitals. All these will guarantee a healthy population.
  31. What is the Biblical foundation of BEPHA? BEPHA is founded on the Gospels: our Lord Jesus declares that “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers (sisters) that you do unto me” (Mtt.25:31-46). BEPHA is the Good Samaritan that comes to help pay our medical bills when all else has failed (cf. Lk.10:25-36). BEPHA is also the Good Shepherd who never leaves his flock untended and who never rests until his beneficiary is cured and the bills are paid (cf. Jn.10:1-15).