By Chioma Obinna

Healthcare providers in Lagos have urged the State government to make the State’s Health Insurance all-encompassing by ensuring that common illness that affect the citizens are accommodated in the Scheme.

The health professionals under the auspices of Healthcare Providers Association of Nigeria, HCPAN, maintained that health insurance was the only way to ensure that poorest and lowest citizen has access to healthcare.

Speaking during its Quarterly meeting in Lagos, the Lagos State Chairman of  HCPAN, Dr Ademola Aina said although, as partners, they cannot hide the fact that they want a good deal but the benefits package must be such that the common things that kill people are adequately covered.

“We want the State government to be responsive to the demands of the providers, especially; we want an all-encompassing scheme that is going to involve everybody and at the same time good enough for the populace,” he stated.

Throwing light into the N40, 000 premium recommended by the State, Aina said although there was disparity on what was originally calculated but the health providers were willing to participate taking into consideration the fact that the scheme was a social health insurance that considers the poorest and the lowest set of Lagosians.

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“The truth is that anywhere in the world, we understand that when you have a huge number of enrollees the lower the capitation becomes, it is natural.  We also want the government to urgently widen its dragnet so that we will have a huge volume of enrollees in the system at that point the providers will be willing to go on a lower capitation because they now have the volume.   “Again, the truth is that the N40, 000 which is for a family of six is not coming to the providers directly, what is coming to the providers is the capitation.

If the government could come up with more funds it would be better. Some countries have been doing it for years.  No provider will actually tell you that a particular amount is good enough if we are waiting for the exact amount this programme will not kick off on time.  “We must also be conscious of the poor people around us like the artisans, the market women who need access to care. It is on that basis we feel that while we start, we will continue to negotiate until we will get a better deal for the providers,” he stated.

Aina said: “We are happy that for now the people in charge are seasoned professionals in that field, they are people who have been in health insurance for a long time.  They have been part of so many health insurance schemes.

We are sure they will drive it but what is left is the political will of the government.  The government must be willing to put funds into it and carry everybody along. At the end of the day it will work,” he added.

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