By Franca Ofili
The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) says it is mapping out strategies to ensure that 83 million vulnerable Nigerians have easy access to adequate provision of health insurance premiums under the country’s healthcare reforms.
Dr Omolayo Taiwo, Head, Health Insurance Department (States) announced this in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) in Ado-Ekiti
Taiwo said that the new Health Insurance Bill signed Into law by President Mohammadu Buhari was a new lease of life under the NHIS.
“President Buhari, has made it clear that the new health insurance law will repeal the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Act of 2004,” he said.
Taiwo said due to the new law and great concern for the vunerables, NHIS was mapping out strategies to ensure that over 83 million Nigerians who could not afford to pay health insurance premiums would be catered for.
According to him, part of the strategies is to ensure public unflinching confidence in the scheme and to improve the quality of services to bring in more enrollees.
While giving the breakdown, he said that Nigerians were the greatest beneficiaries of the Act because of its robust provisions for every sector of the Nigerians’ life.
“Firstly, the multifaceted nature of the scheme solves the problem of inclusion, everyone will be captured by one scheme or the other.
“The children, students, the formal and informal sector, the elderly and even the indigents are provided for under this act,” he said.
Taiwo note that adequate provision was made within the Act to ensure continuous supply of funds to subsidise the vulnerable and sponsor the indigent in the society.
He said that in this regard, no one was left out of the health scheme.
Taiwo said the other aspect of it was the standardisation of the minimum acceptable quality of coverage for all health insurance schemes in Nigeria.
According to him, it means that the minimum acceptable coverage by federal, state or private health insurance schemes would be standardised nationally.
“This will really improve the standard of healthcare in Nigeria.
“Therefore, healthcare access is improved, healthcare financing challenge is comprehensively addressed and the quality of care is also standardised. This is great for Nigerians,” Taiwo said.
According to him, NHIS is bent on effective implementation of the new health insurance law, to ensure a positive impact on the society, mostly the vunerables and those at the rural areas.
He said with the NHIS Act, every Nigerian would now be covered, that means there would be an astronomic surge in the number of enrollees under the scheme.
“Ideally, the NHIS enrollee base will be same as the population of the nation. You will agree with me that it is a huge task.
“But this Act has made provision for different players to come in. The national scheme is still on and essentially with more informal sector involvement.
“The state health insurance schemes will play a huge role and so is the private sector,” he said.
He said that the NHIS, under the leadership of the Director-General, who “we fondly call the ‘authentic professor’, has demonstrated his readiness to effectively coordinate these schemes.
He expressed the hope that the scheme would partly address infrastructure development in health, brain drain and even improve healthcare indices and the SDGs.(NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Idris Abdulrahman