Nigeria’s Health Insurance Coverage Very Low at 5%—Expert

Lifeworth HMO health insurance coverage

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

An Associate Director, Health Financing, Health Systems Consult Limited, Dr Oluwatosin Kolade, has described the 5 percent coverage of health insurance as very low when compared with its peers like Ghana and Rwanda.

Mr Kolade said this at the breakfast meeting organised recently by Lifeworth HMO for various healthcare providers within the industry.

While delivering a paper on Health Insurance: Improving Service Delivery to the Enrollees, the medical expert shared the experience of Nigeria’s health insurance industry with what is obtainable in other African countries like Ghana, Rwanda amongst others.

He noted that while Nigeria was the first country to start health insurance amongst the three countries, Nigeria has only been able to achieve fewer than 5 percent coverage of its population as compared to Ghana and Rwanda’s health insurance cover of about 50 percent and over 90 percent of their populations respectively.

Focusing on the healthcare systems, Mr Kolade noted that the number of medical colleges in the country, estimated at 30 colleges as compared to 300 colleges in India, is abysmally low, thus making the number of the doctors available to cater for Nigerians to be very limited.

Compounding the shortage of trained medical doctors is also the mass exodus of medical practitioners currently been experienced at an alarming rate.

Concluding his lecture, he highlighted the insignificant budgetary allocation to the health sector in general and the poor regulatory framework of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in particular.

Keynote speaker at the event, the Past President of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN), Dr Anthony Omolola, charged healthcare practitioners to digitize their practice as well as improve on their financial acumen.

On the part of the HMOs, he emphasized on the need for seamlessly generation of authorization codes for providers on behalf of their enrollees in order to ensure speedy care.

During his speech, the Chief Executive Officer of Lifeworth HMO, Dr Raymond Osho, noted that the health insurance in Nigeria is at its infancy, however, the journey that has started must be periodically evaluated through discourses on how well to improve healthcare delivery.

According to him, “Affordable healthcare must deliver on its mandate which include accessibility, responsiveness and quality. This will in turn give the enrollees the best of services from the HMO which is delivered by the healthcare providers. This is the way through which the enrollees can trust the system, as a whole.”

There was also a panel session which consisted of Kunbi Adekeye, Head, People Outsourcing, ICS Outsourcing Limited; Dr Atinuke Nwjeh, CEO, Paediatric Partners Hospital; Dr Mohammed Isa, MD, Our Friend Hospital; Dr Tosin Kolade, Associate Director, Health Systems Consult Limited and Dr Raymond Osho, CEO, Lifeworth HMO.

Some of the main points from the session included the need to improve budget allocation to the healthcare sector at a minimum of 15 percent of national annual budget, in conformity with the Abuja declaration of 2001; the need to improve regulatory framework of the NHIS; the need to rapidly grow the health insurance coverage nationwide; the need for healthcare practitioners to improve their service delivery to enrollees; the need for HMOs to charge more realistic premiums from their clients and the need to educate enrollees in order to manage their expectations of the scheme.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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