New Act requires all Nigerians to enrol in health insurance
By By Ruth Gana
The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has been repositioned towards achieving Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria by the year 2030.
This was disclosed by the Ag. Zonal Coordinator, North Central, NHIA, Alh. Adamu Abdullahi, during an interactive session with stakeholders on the reforms being undertaken to reposition the agency in order to adequately respond to the challenges of attaining the presidential mandate in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in Minna recently.
He said some of the reforms included the Rebranding Agenda, which focused on Value System Reorientation, Promoting Transparency and Accountability, and Accelerating the drive towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The zonal coordinator further stated that the signing of the National Health Insurance Act 2022 by former president Muhammad Buhari had significantly altered the health insurance ecosystem in Nigeria, stressing that the new Act necessitated the change of name from National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to promote, regulate, and integrate health insurance activities in Nigeria.
Alhaji Adamu explained that the new law now empowers states’ social health insurance agencies to provide care for all Nigerians, with the exception of federal public servants, and that it was now an offence not to have either one form of health insurance or the other, and there were fines for such offences.
He said states from every geopolitical zone now have a seat in the governing council by way of rotation, adding that a ten-year strategic plan has specific goals and activities to be embarked upon to achieve universal health coverage, which he said will only be achievable through effective collaboration with all stakeholders.
He added that the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) is committed to reforming and maintaining its programmes.
He explained that maps have been designed to be achieved within a specific period; the achievement targeted would not be possible unless continuity was maintained, which is why the scheme came up with the 10-year strategic plan of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) under one roof.
He said the programme has undergone many reforms and transformations, among which is the signing into law of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) as a compulsory programme for Nigerians and those legally residing in the country.
Alh. Adamu reviewed that enrollment in NHIA is to create a central database whereby those that are captured have their information equipped.
He said that the central database of the National Health Insurance Authority, as far as the formal scheme is concerned, has attained over 90 percent coverage, and in the informal sector, NHIA has rollout programmes for physically challenged people and artisans.
The federal government is working with the NHIA to ensure that the vulnerable are not left behind.
Speaking during an interactive session with journalists, he said most of the questions and complaints enrollees are having with their HMO have been addressed as new programmes such as Mutual Health Association (MHA), NGO, and CSO are to ensure effective control of machineries in attaining universal health care coverage by 2030.
Niger State coordinator Hajiya Fatima Abdullahi said her office is always open to all the clients' complaints. She also encourages clients not to keep quiet whenever they face challenges because it is their right.
Hajiya Fatima reviewed that the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) is rolling out programmes on drug licencing and labelling to reduce complaints about low-quality products.