Federal, states’ health insurance schemes for harmonisation in Nigeria

* Seek to adopt Universal Health Coverage

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Towards ensuring that health insurance in Nigeria is more holistic, coordinated and inclusive, especially for the most vulnerable, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), alongside State Supported Health Insurance Schemes (SSHIS), are building frameworks for effective insurance schemes under one roof.

This way, the Nation reports the country will have very good central coordinating system whereby Nigerians can get aggregate of all the numbers of enrollees in insurance schemes at the Federal and states level.

Furthermore, healthcare practitioners can make qualitative decisions on achieving Universal Health Coverage based on knowledge of those who are statutorily covered under the formal sector and those not yet covered.

Prof. Mohammed Sambo, Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NHIS, disclosed at the strategic retreat of NHIS, SSHIS, and other strategic stakeholders Tuesday, February 11, in Abuja, FCT.

Prof. Sambo: “This retreat brings all the actors – Federal and states, under the health insurance scheme to come together to create a platform that will enable us move towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

“The NHIS is operating a 2004 Law which is solely focused on the formal sector. All the monies coming to the NHIS are from contributions from the salary of the public sector workers.

“Even if the NHIS is performing at its best, it wouldn’t have covered more than the people in the formal sector in Nigeria.

“The NHIS Law initially and up till today, is still a non-mandatory. When NHIS started, states and local governments were supposed to join the health insurance scheme. But because it was non-mandatory, states and local governments refused to join,” Sambo stated.

He added: “So it was only left for the federal and those willing in the private sector to join. Because of that problem, health insurance system was decentralised. Therefore, every state has its own health insurance scheme to cover its formal sector.

“But if it is made mandatory, it therefore means that they will make contributions to the pool of the national insurance scheme, and then you have a large pool.

“When you have such a large pool of funds, you do what is called cross-subsidisation. The rich will subsidise the poor, and there is a tendency you will have surplus funds with which you will use to give and create subsidy for those who cannot pay,” the NHIS boss said.

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