SSNIT’s US$206 million is locked up in four joint ventures – 2021 AG’s report
The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has invested US$206 million in four Joint Venture projects, according to the Auditor-2021 General’s report.
Section 7 of the Public Financial Management Act of 2016 (Act 921) specifies that a covered entity’s Principal Spending Officer must guarantee the regularity and proper use of money allotted to that covered entity.
Furthermore, Section 2 (2.64) of SSNIT’s Investment Policy and Guidelines (IPG) 2019 mandates that assets be managed in respect to predicted cash flows (i.e., liquidity), portfolio quality, and avoidance of excessive exposure to a particular sector/companies.
“We reviewed the investment reports on Unlisted Companies 2021 and noted that the Trust has over US$206 million of its investible funds locked up in 4 joint ventures projects. Our reviews showed that, between 2008 and 2014, SSNIT and four other companies entered into a joint venture agreement to undertake projects in the real estate sector”, the A-G’s report said.
The projects included: RSS, Switchback, Trust F-Line and West Hills Ridge project. The Switchback Ltd project started in 2008, RSS started in 2009 while the Trust F-Line and West Hills Ridge commenced in 2014.
All the four projects were estimated to cost US$240 million.
“Our review of projects files and inspection of 3 of the projects disclosed that, they were at various stages of completion. We noted during our inspection that, phase 1 of RSS projects had completed whilst phases 2, 3 and 4 were halted. Our review of unlisted equities reports also showed that, SSNIT has so far spent US$ 206 million on RSS, F-Line and West Hill projects”, the report noted.
It said the amount of money spent on Switchback project and updated expenditure on RSS, FLine and West Hill Ridge were not provided by Trust to the team despite all efforts.
The report noted that the schedule officer-in-charge of Unlisted Equity disclosed to the audit team that, the projects have stalled due to lack of funds to complete them. He indicated that, starting the projects concurrently in 2008 and 2014 created financial challenges to the Trust.
The KPMG Value for Money Audit (VFM) conducted in 2018 also attributed the delay in completing RSS project for instance, to financial challenges.
The schedule officer-in-charge of Unlisted Equities further indicated that the projects started at a time when the real estate market showed signs of growth with high demand from prospective buyers, however, the unexpected economic crisis resulted in a decline in demand for real estate properties.
The audit team is of the view that, the management did not take due care and the Board did not exercise effective control over the Trust’s funds especially when the investment in the RSS and Trust F-Line have not been completed or yielded returns within 5 to 6 years, but the Trust still went ahead with similar investment with Switchback and West Hill Ridge Ltd in 2014.
The four projects, of which two started concurrently, have either been stalled or are in serious need of funds to continue.
“The JVCs are struggling to sell the completed apartments. Pension funds have been locked up in these projects, thereby aggravating the liquidity challenges of the Trust. It is uncertain when the funds already invested in these projects would be recouped to ensure sustainability of the Trust”, the report said.
It said: “Although the Board’s control over investment has improved lately, we recommended that the Trust takes steps to reduce its exposure on these projects. We also recommended that the Trust should avoid investing in multiplicity projects. We further urged the management to update the audit team with the various cost associated with the 4 projects, especially, Switch Back and West Hill projects”.
Management in their response stated that “As a general solution common to all four investments, SSNIT Management has put in place a new Investment Policy and Guidelines document to guide the Trust on such transactions in future that includes that, SSNIT shall not enter into any joint venture agreement where a partner in the JV will be the contractor for the project the JV is to undertake.
The real estate industry has been going through difficult times for the past four years and more. This is partly due to the oversupply of medium-to-high end properties, and economic downturns in the country and other parts of the world. Processes are almost complete for SSNIT to take over some of the assets of RSS to defray part of the loan owed SSNIT.
The strategy following the swap is to sell the apartments at current market rates which are much lower than the selling prices at the inception of the project. The Trust will also look to rent some of the properties in order to generate income and also to create greater visibility for the development in the market. The land that will be swapped will also be sold to attract more buyers to the development.
Trust F-Line Limited
Progress was limited from 2016 to 2019 due to the inability of the other partner, DVM Group, to secure its debt component for the completion of the project. SSNIT has provided additional finance by buying some of the units at a significant discount to help the company complete the project. It is expected that once the project is completed, the units would be quickly sold, due to the project’s location, quality, and competitive sale price of the apartments. Marketing and sale of the apartments are currently ongoing.
Switchback Developers Limited
Financing has become a challenge for this project as the first phase, Adinkra Heights is yet to be completed. SSNIT has purchased some of the land owned by the company and also, purchased some of the apartments at a significant discount to enable the company to have enough funds to complete the first phase. Marketing and sale of the apartments are ongoing. West Hills Ridge Company Ltd.
The SSNIT Management/Board conducted a value for money audit on the company. The audit led to the company saving US$30 million on the construction cost. SSNIT further stopped the continuation of the Phase 2 except for six blocks that construction was advanced and the Sports Centre, which is a very necessary complimentary facility. The project is steadily going on with sales ongoing for the completed units.”
Small business health insurance in the United States
When looking for health insurance for a small business, there are several options to consider. It is critical to consider all of your options and choose the one that is best for your small business and its employees. Here are some examples:
- Group Health Insurance Plans: Small businesses can frequently purchase group health insurance plans for their employees. Individual plans typically offer more coverage at a lower cost. Group health insurance plans are available from insurance companies or state or federal marketplaces such as Healthcare.gov.
- Professional Organizations: Some professional organisations offer their members health insurance. Check with your professional organisation to see if they offer health insurance.
- HRAs: HRAs enable small businesses to reimburse their employees for individual health insurance premiums or medical expenses. The employer sets aside a certain amount of money for each employee to use towards healthcare costs. Both the employer and the employee may be able to deduct HRAs.
- HSAs (Health Savings Accounts): HSAs allow employees to save money for medical expenses before taxes. Employees may be eligible for an HSA if your small business offers a high-deductible health plan. HSAs can benefit both the employer and the employee.
- Small businesses can benefit from the assistance of insurance brokers in locating and comparing health insurance options from various providers. A broker can help you understand your options and choose the best plan for your needs and budget.
How does insurance work?
Insurance is a risk management strategy. You pay a fee to the insurance company when you purchase an insurance (known as a premium). In exchange, the insurance company agrees to pay for certain expenses or losses if they occur. Depending on the type of insurance, it works differently. Here are several examples:
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- If you have car insurance, you must pay a premium to an insurance company. In exchange, the insurance company agrees to pay some or all of the costs associated with an accident or theft. Car repairs, medical bills if you or someone else is injured, and legal fees, if you are sued, are all possibilities.
- If you have homeowners insurance, you must pay a premium to an insurance company. In exchange, the insurance company agrees to pay some or all of the costs of repairing or replacing your home and personal property. This could include damage caused by fire, theft, or severe weather.
When you file a claim, you usually have to pay a deductible before the insurance company starts covering the costs. The deductible is the amount you must pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in. The amount of the deductible varies depending on the type of insurance and the specific plan.
It is critical to choose an insurance plan that meets your needs as well as your budget. If you’re not sure what kind of insurance you need, an insurance agent or broker can help you understand your options and choose the best plan for you.
What insurance coverage means?
Insurance coverage refers to the protection provided by an insurance policy. When you purchase insurance, you are essentially purchasing protection against specific risks. If one of these risks occurs, your insurance provider will provide financial protection or reimbursement up to the policy limits.
Your coverage can vary greatly depending on the type of insurance you have. As an illustration:
- Doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, and preventive care are all typical health insurance benefits. Depending on the plan you choose, the specific benefits and levels of coverage vary.
- Auto Insurance Coverage: Common benefits of auto insurance coverage include liability protection if you cause an accident, collision coverage if your car is damaged in an accident, and comprehensive coverage if your car is damaged or stolen.
- Protection for your home and personal property, liability protection if someone is injured on your property, and additional living expenses, if you are forced to leave your home due to a covered loss, are all common benefits of homeowners insurance coverage.
It is critical to understand the coverage provided as well as any limitations or exclusions when choosing an insurance policy. You should also think about the premiums, deductibles, and any other policy terms and conditions. By having insurance coverage, you can protect yourself and your assets from unexpected events and financial losses.
What is US health insurance?
Health insurance in the United States is a type of insurance that protects you financially from medical expenses. In the United States, health insurance is typically provided by private insurance companies or through government programmes such as Medicare and Medicaid.
There are several types of health insurance plans, including:
- HMO: A type of plan in which you must choose a primary care physician and obtain referrals to see specialists. HMOs frequently have lower out-of-pocket costs than other types of plans.
- Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): A health insurance plan that allows you to see any provider but has higher out-of-pocket costs if you go outside the network.
- Point of Service (POS): A healthcare plan that combines the advantages of HMOs and PPOs. You usually have a primary care physician and need referrals to see specialists, but you can see providers outside the network for a fee.
- High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP): A plan that has a high deductible but lower premiums. HDHPs are frequently combined with a Health Savings Account (HSA), which allows you to save money for medical expenses before taxes.
Health insurance is commonly provided through employer-sponsored plans in the United States, but individuals can also purchase insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) marketplace or directly from insurance companies. Subsidies are also included in the ACA to help low-income individuals and families purchase health insurance.
It is critical to choose a health insurance plan that meets your needs as well as your budget. Consider the cost of premiums and deductibles, the provider network, and the plan’s benefits and coverage levels.
Health Insurance Exchange: Here is all you need to know
A health insurance exchange, also known as a health insurance marketplace, is a platform established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for the purchase of health insurance by individuals and small companies. The exchange is an online marketplace where people may evaluate insurance plans from various firms and enrol in the plan that best meets their requirements. The health insurance market provides a variety of health plans that fulfil the ACA’s basic criteria, including essential health coverage. These benefits include hospitalisation, prescription medications, preventative care, and other services.
The exchange not only provides a venue for people to purchase health insurance, but it also provides financial aid to those who qualify. This support takes the form of premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, which can help lower-income people buy health insurance. Individuals and small companies must first create an account and enter information about their household size and income to enrol in a health plan through the exchange. They may then explore and compare the numerous options to choose the one that best meets their requirements.
Each year, the health insurance exchange is available for enrollment for a certain period known as the open enrollment period. Individuals may be allowed to enrol in a plan beyond this time if they encounter a qualified life event, such as leaving their job or getting married.
What exactly is a Health Insurance Exchange Program?
A Health Insurance Exchange Plan sometimes referred to as a Marketplace plan, is a form of health insurance plan that is available through a health insurance exchange. The exchange is a marketplace where people may shop for and compare health insurance policies from various insurance firms. These plans satisfy the ACA’s minimum coverage criteria, including the essential health benefits. Those who do not have access to affordable coverage via their job or who are self-employed can enrol in health insurance exchange plans. They are also open to small firms with less than 50 employees.
One of the primary benefits of health insurance exchange plans is that people who qualify might get financial help. This support takes the form of premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, which can help lower-income people buy health insurance. Metal levels are commonly used to describe exchange plans: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. The metal tier indicates the degree of coverage provided by the plan and affects the amount of cost-sharing that the user will bear. Platinum plans have the highest premiums but the greatest out-of-pocket expenses, whereas Bronze plans have the lowest premiums but the highest out-of-pocket costs.
Health insurance market plans also provide a variety of benefits, such as hospitalisation, prescription medication coverage, preventative care, and more. They also have a provider network that clients must adhere to get coverage, with a few exceptions for emergency treatment. Consumers should carefully assess their healthcare requirements and finances before choosing a health insurance exchange plan. Consumers should also assess the provider network, prescription medication coverage, and out-of-pocket costs of the plan. Consumers may choose an inexpensive plan that fulfils their healthcare requirements by carefully researching their alternatives.
What is an exchange policy insurance?
A health insurance exchange policy, also known as an exchange plan, is a form of health insurance coverage that is available through a health insurance exchange or marketplace. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) established health insurance exchanges to offer individuals and small companies a consolidated platform for purchasing health insurance coverage. An exchange policy satisfies the ACA’s minimum coverage criteria, including coverage for hospitalisation, prescription medications, preventative care, and other essential health benefits. These plans are divided into metal categories, which include Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum, with each tier signifying the degree of coverage and cost-sharing that the consumer will be responsible for.
One of the most important aspects of exchange policy insurance is that it provides financial aid to individuals who qualify. This support takes the form of premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, which can help lower-income people buy health insurance. Consumers must first register an account on the health insurance exchange and give information about their household size and income before purchasing exchange policy insurance. They may then explore and compare the numerous options to choose the one that best meets their requirements.
Exchange policy insurance plans generally have a provider network that customers must adhere to get coverage. However, there are certain exclusions for emergency treatment and out-of-network services. Consumers should carefully assess their healthcare demands and money before choosing exchange coverage insurance. Consumers should also assess the provider network, prescription medication coverage, and out-of-pocket costs of the plan. Consumers may choose an inexpensive plan that fulfils their healthcare requirements by carefully researching their alternatives.
How do I check my health insurance status?
You may verify your health insurance status and ensure that you are aware of your coverage levels and perks by doing the procedures outlined below. This can assist you in making educated healthcare decisions and avoiding unexpected expenditures. There are numerous measures you may take to determine your health insurance status.
- Examine your insurance policies: Begin by going over any paperwork you have from your health insurance provider, such as your insurance card, a summary of benefits, and an explanation of benefits (EOB). These documents may contain details about your plan, including as coverage levels, deductibles, and copayments.
- Call your insurance company: You may check your health insurance status by contacting your insurance provider directly. Contact the customer service number shown on your insurance card and inquire about your existing coverage, including the start and end dates of your policy, the benefits of your plan, and any deductibles or copayments you may be required to pay.
- Check online: Several insurance companies give online portals where you may check the status of your health insurance. These websites may provide information about your coverage, claims, and account balance. Often, you may access the online portal via your insurance provider’s website or mobile app.
- Contact your workplace: If you have health insurance via your employer, you may check your coverage status by contacting your human resources department. They may tell you about your plan’s coverage levels, deductibles, and copayments.
How to Get Health Insurance While Self-Employed or Unemployed
Nobody expects to get sick or wounded, but when it does, it’s critical to be prepared. Health insurance is a crucial instrument for everyone to protect against unexpected medical bills and to provide essential benefits that aid in the maintenance and improvement of health and well-being. While weighing your healthcare insurance alternatives, carefully assess the pricing, coverage, and network of each plan to determine which is the best fit for your requirements and budget. Finding health insurance as a self-employed individual might be difficult, but there are solutions accessible to you. Here are a few examples:
- Individual and family health insurance policies are available through the Health Insurance Marketplace, popularly known as Obamacare. You may shop for plans on Healthcare.gov and see if you qualify for financial help based on your income.
- Group plans: You might also join a group plan offered by a professional organisation or trade association. If you are self-employed but have a small staff or operate with independent contractors, this might be a suitable alternative.
- HSAs (Health Savings Accounts): HSAs are tax-advantaged accounts that can be used to pay for eligible medical costs. As a self-employed person, you can establish your own HSA and contribute tax-free funds to it to meet medical expenditures.
- Private plans: You can also buy a private health insurance plan directly from an insurance provider. This solution may be more expensive than others, but it may give more coverage and network flexibility.
Here are some Important Healthcare Terms to Help You Choose a Plan
- Deductible: The amount of money you must spend for medical care before your health plan begins to share costs. For example, if your yearly deductible is $3,000, you will be responsible for all treatment (excluding preventative care like annual check-ups) until you have spent $3,000. Pick a health plan with a deductible that you can afford, as this will come out of your own wallet if you have healthcare bills. Additionally, be sure the plan you’re thinking about has a separate deductible for healthcare services and pharmacy – you’d be paying for both.
- Copay: A copay is a one-time cost paid when you see the doctor or fill a prescription at the pharmacy. Copays, which are included in certain plans, cover your share of the cost of a doctor’s visit or medicine. If you choose a health plan with copays, the amounts will be printed on your ID card.
- Out-of-pocket maximum: This is the most you may spend for approved medical costs in a calendar year. This figure includes money spent on deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. If you hit your yearly out-of-pocket maximum, your health insurance will cover all covered charges for the remainder of the year.
- Network: A network is a collection of medical care providers, such as physicians, pharmacists, and specialists, that have agreed to serve clients of certain health plans. Be sure your and your family’s chosen physicians and pharmacies are in the network of the plan you’re considering. Otherwise, you’ll incur unnecessary charges for out-of-network services.
- Coinsurance: Instead of copays, plans might offer coinsurance, in which you pay a part of the expenses for covered treatments and your health insurance covers the remainder. Your coinsurance normally kicks in after you hit your deductible, depending on your plan.
- Essential health benefits: A package of services required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for all health insurance plans, including preventative care, emergency treatment, and mental health services.
- Prior approval is required: Before seeking a service or treatment, obtain approval from your insurance company to check that it is covered under your plan.
Taking the Time to Understand Mental Health Coverage in a Plan
While choosing a healthcare plan, it’s critical to understand the plan’s mental health coverage. Mental health care is critical for general health and well-being, and the coverage provided by your healthcare plan can have a big influence on your treatment options and expenses. To better understand a health insurance plan’s mental health coverage, you should generally consult the Summary of Benefits. There will usually be a line that describes coverage for mental health, behavioural health, or drug addiction services. Depending on your mental health needs, this may be one of the decisive considerations in your plan selection.
Examine plan brochures to discover if there are any extra plan elements that affect access to mental healthcare. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, a plan that includes behavioural health coverage can assure you access to specialist care if you need it. Evernorth released new research in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicating that, when necessary, outpatient behavioural therapy can dramatically lower your total healthcare expenditures, including medical and pharmaceutical costs.
Understanding the mental health coverage of a healthcare plan allows you to make an informed decision about which plan is appropriate for your mental health requirements and budget. If you have any further queries, please contact the plan’s customer care.
Navigating the Many Varieties of Health Plans
Navigating the many types of health plans can be difficult, but it is critical to understand your options so that you can select the best plan for your requirements and budget. You can make an informed decision about which plan is appropriate for your healthcare requirements and budget if you understand the many types of health plans. Before making a selection, thoroughly consider the plan’s pricing, coverage, and provider network.
- Health Maintenance Organization (HMO): An HMO is a type of plan in which you must select a primary care physician (PCP) who will oversee all of your medical treatment. To get coverage, you must remain inside the HMO’s network of providers, with a few exclusions for emergency treatment.
- Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): A PPO is a more flexible form of a plan than an HMO. You can see any provider inside the PPO’s network, but you will pay less if you see an in-network provider.
- Point of Service (POS): A POS plan combines an HMO with a PPO. You must normally select a PCP and stay inside the network, however, you may be able to visit out-of-network providers at a greater fee.
- Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO): An EPO is comparable to an HMO but does not need you to select a primary care physician (PCP). To get coverage, you must stay inside the network of providers, with a few exclusions for emergency treatment.
- High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP): An HDHP is a form of health insurance plan that has a high deductible and reduced premiums. It normally covers preventative care and catastrophic occurrences, but you must pay out-of-pocket for the majority of other services until your deductible is met.
- Catastrophic Health Plan: A catastrophic health plan is one that has very low monthly premiums but substantial out-of-pocket expenditures. It is intended to protect you against serious medical crises and is normally accessible exclusively to people under the age of 30 or who qualify for a hardship exemption.
Health Plans for Younger People
If you’re in good health and don’t need to see a doctor frequently, health plans with larger deductibles usually have cheaper insurance rates and may help you save money. All plans accessible via the ACA Marketplace include free basic preventive treatments. This includes a yearly physical, necessary screening tests, and vaccinations. Your healthcare requirements are distinct, and they will evolve over time. While choosing a plan, consider what you could require in the following year rather than merely your age.
Health Insurance for Children’s Families
If you have children, estimating your healthcare costs may be more difficult. A playground mishap, a case of respiratory syncytial virus This link will take you to a new tab. (RSV) or the flu, as well as other diseases or accidents, can quickly increase expenditures. A plan with a lower deductible and a higher premium that covers a bigger proportion of your medical expenses may be beneficial for your family.
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