Art and Culture

FG to End Out-of-Pocket Payment for Healthcare

todayAugust 3, 2022

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Onyebuchi Ezigbo

The federal government says it is working to end out-of-pocket payments for health care services by demanding evidence of registration on the national health insurance scheme as a prerequisite for student enrollment, access to hospital services and other privileges.

Prof Mohammed Nasir Sambo, Nigeria Health Insurance Authority’s director-general, stated this at a one-day interactive workshop with journalists in Abuja on Tuesday.

According to him, Nigeria is among the countries with the highest out-of-pocket expenditure on healthcare services.

Sambo added that with the new National Health Insurance Authority Act, the government commenced the implementation to ensure that the scheme covers every Nigerian.

“From the moment Mr President put pen to paper, health insurance became mandatory. The NHIA Act empowers the Authority to see to it that all Nigerian and legal residents have health insurance. This is a complete departure from the previous law that made health insurance optional,” he said.

Sambo spoke on some of the implications of the new act, which came into effect on May 19.

Apart from changing the agency’s name from National Health Insurance Scheme to National Health Insurance Authority, the act provides alternative financing mechanisms such as a tax on telephone calls.

Sambo said it was erroneous to describe the initiative as an imposition of telecoms tax, explaining that the law provides that NHIA will promote the establishment of the Vulnerable Group Fund (VGF) as well as sources of funding for it.

Concerning the operations of the Group, Individual and Family Social Health Insurance Programme (GIFSHIP), he said, “Our ultimate aim is to allow the states to own up the operations of GIFSHIP as long as they can manage it efficiently.”

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todayAugust 3, 2022

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