December 27, 2022

NHIA Act strategic to changing health insurance landscape in Nigeria — EXPERT

NHIA Act strategic to changing health insurance landscape in Nigeria — EXPERT

By Chioma Obinna

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has said that the implementation of the NHIA Act 2022 signed into Law by President Muhammadu Buhari was strategic to changing the health insurance landscape in Nigeria.

The Deputy General Manager and Coordinator, Lagos State Office of NHIA, Mrs Aisha Haruna Abubakar, who described the Act as historic and a milestone, said it has crowned the efforts of the current Management and major stakeholders in the Health Sector.

Abubakar further has called for the support of all Nigerians in the nation’s Health sector in ensuring a successful implementation of mandatory Health Insurance for the achievement of Universal Health Coverage.

She said with the support of critical stakeholders, the achievement of Universal Health Coverage is assured.

In his paper entitled: “Achieving Universal Health Coverage Through Mandatory Health Coverage: Role of The National Health Insurance Authority” during the 2022 national Symposium/Awards of the Health Writers Association of Nigeria, HEWAN,  in Lagos, she said: ”Let us join hands to fulfil the mandate given to us through this instrument of the Law.”

Abubakar explained the rationale behind the enactment of the NHIA Act 2022 that brought about Mandatory Health Insurance in the country, highlighted the roles of the Agency in the achievement of Universal Health Coverage as well as the need for all stakeholders to support the initiative.

Abubakar said the law has also given approval for the establishment of a vulnerable group fund which, according to her “Gives hope to 83 million vulnerable Nigerians.

Abubakar said “The signing of NHIA Act 2022 bestows the function to promote, integrate and regulate all health insurance schemes that operate in Nigeria; ensure that health insurance is mandatory for every Nigerian and legal resident; enforce the basic minimum package of health services for all Nigerians across all health insurance schemes operating within the country”

She said the NHIA Act will also promote, support and collaborate with States through State Health Insurance schemes to ensure access to quality healthcare; ensure the implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund as required by the National Health Act and grant accreditation and re-accreditation to Health Management Organisations (HMOs), Third Party Administrators (TPAs) and Mutual HealthAssociation (MHAs) and HCFs and monitor their performances.

She said the Act also gives approval for the establishment of the Special State Health Insurance Authority (SSHIA) and Federal Capital Territory Scheme.

“The Act highlights that “Mandatory health insurance for every Nigerian and legal resident. This is to engender the achievement of Universal Health Coverage, UHC, Section 3(b) & 14.

“The Act establishes States and FCT Schemes. This is to strengthen collaboration between NHIA and States for the achievement of Universal Health Coverage Sec 13(1).

“The Act establishes the Vulnerable Group Fund, identifies the sources of the VGF, disbursement, management, investment, and expenses of the fund. The aim is to provide finance to subsidise the cost of the provision of healthcare services to vulnerable persons in Nigeria Sections 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30.

“Third Party Administrators (TPAs) and Mutual Health Association, MHAs,  are included in the 2022 Act for continuous Quality Assurance, community mobilization and sensitisation and any other roles that they are engaged to perform Section 34(4) & 35(1).”