The Compulsory Social Health Insurance will provide coverage for 83 million underprivileged Nigerians, according to Prof. Mohammed Nasir Sambo, Director General of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).
Furthermore, the agency is prepared to implement the Act and help people internalize it, indicating that the path toward achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is on track.
Sambo stated this on Tuesday in Abuja during a one-day workshop/news conference for health correspondents on the NHIA Act.
This development makes it more feasible than ever before to combat the high prevalence of poverty brought on by out-of-pocket medical expenses by providing health insurance to all categories of Nigerians by 2030.
According to him: “The moment President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Act , the NHIA Act empowers the Authority to see to it that all Nigerians and legal residents have health insurance. This is a complete departure from the previous law that made health insurance optional.
“The NHIA Act brings renewed prospects for the delivery of effective health insurance in Nigeria, fundamentally resets the ecosystem.
“The Act establishes and empowers the NHIA to ensure provision of health insurance for all Nigerians through a mandatory mechanism, in collaboration with state health insurance agencies.
“Specifically, Sections 25 and 26 of the Act establish the Vulnerable Group Fund (VGF), indicating the various sources from which funding would be drawn.
“Furthermore, the legislation strengthens the NHIA to discharge a wide range of regulatory and promotion functions to ultimately ensure that every Nigerian receives access to quality and affordable health care”, Sambo stressed.
Fielding questions from newsmen on the inclusion of cancer treatment in NHIA programme, the Director General said the agency is in partnership with Roche Products Nigeria Limited on Cancer Care Reimbursement initiative. While adding that Roche will pay 50% of the amount, NHIA will pay 30% of the money and the patient pay 20% of the amount.
Responding to a question on integration of informal sectors into the NHIA programme, Sambo said health is compulsory for people in the informal sectors, the new law has made health compulsory for everyone. ” The public sector is already in, organized private sectors will be compelled and persuaded to join.
” There are numerous benefits in health insurance which is to protect them. Government will also come up with policies that of you have to enroll your children in schools, you have to present an evidence of health insurance. Even when you don’t go to school, you will go to the hospital, you must produce the your health insurance evidence. Almost 70% of out of pocket expenditure. We want to ensure that out of pocket expenditure is reduced to below 50%”, he said.