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National Health Insurance Scheme in Nigeria

History of National health insurance scheme (NHIS)

The thought of establishing an administrative organization to address health care issues in Nigeria had its roots in 1962. This idea was shot down at the time by government officials. The former Vice President Abdusalami Abubaker declared National health insurance into military law on 10th of May 1999. The Nigerian public had to wait 40 more years for the National health insurance to become very official. President Olusegun Obasanjo became the first registered National health insurance member when he formally launched the agency in 2006.

National health insurance in Nigeria

Recruiting achievements of National health insurance scheme (NHIS)

Though there were some confrontation and speculations at the beginning, in 2013. 98 % of all Nigerian federal employees and two million additional private sector workers signed up with National health insurance. Also, two million additional Nigerians signed up with NHIS through the Program for Pregnant Women and Children Under Five.

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Current Recruiting Challenges of National health insurance scheme (NHIS)

Though the National health insurance’s stated objective is to make universal health care available. Sadly, the proportion of the Nigerian population with health care coverage remains trapped at around 10 percent. Part of this problem has to do with words of the NHIS Act itself, which calls for only federal government employees and private sector businesses with 10 or more employees to register with NHIS.

Unfortunately, the majority of government workers work for state agencies, not federal agencies. Since the decree does not apply to them, most don’t consider to join NHIS. An additional problem is that in the private sector, many Nigerian establishments don’t register their employees with the government so that they can avoid paying taxes. Employees who work under-the-table don’t receive health insurance, so it’s a losing situation for everyone except for the employer.

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The main problem boils down to a lack of funds. Less than 2% of the gross domestic product of Nigeria’s is reinvested into its health care programs. Labor unions have obstructed efforts to enact laws that would have need of employees to contribute to their own health care plan with salary deductions, so there just isn’t much money to go around.

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The future of National health insurance scheme (NHIS)

Before any noteworthy improvements can be made, there should be an amendment to the law in the following areas:

  • The more people that join the NHIS, the cheaper it will be for everyone– so more people should be persuaded to join.
  • Policyholders should be required to pay at least a small portion towards the total cost of the NHIS.
  • The public should be provided with more information about NHIS because as the situation stands today, numerous people have heard the name NHIS but few really know what it means.

Presently, most Nigerians see health insurance as just another monthly expenditure, but in the real sense, health insurance is an investment that can save lots of money on an occasion when a health problem suddenly develops.

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