The Chief Executive Officer, Avon HMO, Ms. Adesimbo Ukiri, has said that an increase in the population of Nigerians enrolled under the present health insurance will reduce disease burden in the country.
Ukiri stated that many diseases killing Nigerians in their prime could have been detected and treated earlier, if they had health insurance to guarantee the payment of their medical bills.
She said, “With Universal Health Coverage, every Nigerian irrespective of their income status or social class, will have access to good quality health care services at any point.
“They would go to hospitals earlier when they are sick. They will also get treated at the right time. Whether they are treating, preventing or recovering from illness, no one will have to risk financial ruin trying to access health care services.
“Turning these indices around will result in the healthy and highly productive workforce Nigeria needs to enable increased levels of activity across our various economic sectors.”
Ukiri highlighted low awareness, prevalence of out-of-pocket expenditure on health care, uneven quality of health care services from a highly fragmented health care provision sector, poorly coordinated and inadequately staffed hospital systems, and the incidence of medical tourism as factors that still make the scheme unpopular in the country.
The NHIS Executive Secretary, Dr. Olufemi Thomas, said it had begun to implement industry-wide initiatives to increase health insurance coverage from its current estimated four per cent to 30 per cent by the end of 2015.
“One of our key areas has been educating the public about the affordability and necessity of health insurance, both to expand the market’s reach and to ensure a much-needed, steady flow of revenue to the country’s health care facilities.
“This will enable the facilities to deliver higher quality of care, as well as better clinical outcomes, at more efficient prices. It will also lead to HMOs being able to provide wider benefit coverage under their health plans at lower annual premiums.”