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Monday, March 23, 2015

States Advised To Establish Health Insurance Agency – NHIS

The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has advised  state governments to   come up with their own health insurance agency, while making health insurance mandatory through their house of assembly. The executive secretary, NHIS, Dr Femi Thomas, who stated this on Monday in Abuja at  a workshop on  NHIS Plus programme, added that states could also create programmes for formal and informal sector as well as equity banks for the poor and vulnerable people.

“Some percentage of the National Health Act which has just been passed can actually go through these equity banks for the vulnerable people in the society.” He  assured that any state who gets his House of Assembly to pass the Health Insurance bill, making it
mandatory would be supported with  a study tour and other benefits.The NHIS boss charged Health Management Organisations (HMOs) to use their links within the formal and informal sector to get states to enroll into the NHIS programme. “It is now the HMOs and health facilities that will now market the new platform. The new platform is so robust and easy to manage. People can pay as you go per day or per week. He also revealed a directive from the Nigerian Universities Commission to enrol staff of universities, with about 4 million lives.

Thomas who charged HMOs to  go to these institutions, said that the scheme can only step in if any of the institutions are not compliant. He said the scheme has four programmes that can lead the country to universal health coverage, saying, “the language worldwide now is universal coverage. It can also be termed a household name in the comity of  experts in health care financing.” He also disclosed that the federal government  has been spending so much in the formal sector, paying N70,000 per enrollee for the past 10 years.
“We need to see how we can achieve additional coverage without extra extra spending from the federal government.” In the NHIS Plus,  the standard  benefit package is the benchmark, Its designed for people who wants services more than what is designed for the standard package. The HMOs are expected to drive the process and the programme.


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