As the nation eagerly awaits the passage of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Bill into law, Adesimbo Ukiri, Managing Director/CEO of Avon Healthcare Limited, a leading health management organisation (HMO), has called for key stakeholders to be more customer focused, develop consumer insights and introduce health plans that speak to the different needs of Nigerians’ teeming population. She stated “with or without passage of the NHIS bill, HMOs can convert Nigerians from making often unaffordable out of pocket payments to meet Healthcare needs. Subscribing to a health plan is the most cost effective way to have financial access to quality healthcare services and Nigerians need to be made aware of this.”
Ukiri, who was speaking during the recent BusinessDay Roundtable on Healthcare Financing, acknowledged that whilst this legislation remains key to achieving Universal Health Coverage for the nation, a lot can still be achieved in terms of improving penetration levels even ahead of the promulgation of the NHIS bill into law. She stressed that there is a lot that the industry can do to create awareness and sensitise the public to the benefits of subscribing to a health insurance plan with licensed HMOs.
She said: “If we want to achieve the goal of Universal Health Coverage, scaling up enrolment is imperative. However HMOs should not just rely on the passing of the NHIS Bill which will make subscription to a health plan mandatory. We should also task ourselves to win the hearts and minds of Nigerians, convincing them that it is in their best interest to subscribe to a health plan. Let’s challenge ourselves to develop different options and propositions with respect to health plans and products that speak to the needs of different market segments and consumer base within the country.”
She noted that the creation of alternative channels of subscription and enrolment that are easy, convenient and pervasive will provide additional opportunities to drive up coverage on a massive scale.
“No matter the income bracket, social class, geographical location, everyone will benefit from subscribing to a health plan. With the majority of spending of healthcare coming directly from out of pocket, it is important that this trend is reversed. We, as HMOs, must stand up to this challenge and bring Nigeria at par to the rest of the developed world” added Ukiri.