FG Says State Insurance Laws Will Improve Health Indices


Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has expressed optimism that the implementation of health insurance laws in the states will help increase the country’s health indices and ensure quality healthcare.

Ehanire stated this yesterday at the opening ceremony of the Strategic Retreat of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) SSHIS and other Key Stakeholders, themed: Health Insurance Under One Roof (HIUOR) as Cordinating Mechanism for Achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC), in Nasarawa State.

The minister, who was represented by the director,  Planning, Research and Statistics, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Emmanuel Meribole, expressed delight over the technical assistance provided to states by the NHIS in developing their own health insurance or contributory health insurance law.

The assistance, Ehanire said should provide proper understanding of the law, subject to the peculiarity of each state, which according to him, has make national retreat very important as it provides the various states the opportunity to learn, pear review and harmonise their work.

According to him, “the objectives of this retreat, if fine-tuned, will put us on the right track in providing health insurance to our people”.

Speaking further, the minister informed that the federal government was set to implement mandatory and universal health insurance in collaboration with all states government and the Federal Capital Teritarry (FCT) administration as well as operationalise the basic healthcare provision funds in collaboration with relevant agencies and partners.

Executive secretary of NHIS, Prof. Mohammed Sambo, said the Scheme is set to achieve accurate data of enrollees in  the federal, states and private sector.

This, he said was achievable through the NHIS initiative of Health Insurance Under One Roof (HIUOR).

According to him, “With the idea of HIUOR, we will have very good central coordinating system whereby we can get aggregate of all the numbers of enrolles that have joined the NHIS in the country.

“This way, we will know those who are statutorily covered under the formal sector, and the segment of the population that is not yet covered, and who is supposed to cover that segment – federal or state government. At the end of this retreat, we will develop a matrix of cover.”

On the Scheme’s coverage, Sambo said “if we are talking about NHIS not covering, it is not solely the fault of the scheme but because other formal sectors within the state who are by far more than the percentage of people in the federal government are not joining.”

“With the decentralisation, most of the states have created their social health insurance agencies, and by the creation of these agencies, if we are talking about coverage, we are now going to be talking about summation of all efforts by the federal and state government in terms of covering their own formal sector and the local government formal sector. That aggregate will give the report sheet of what health insurance is covering in the country.”

According to him, the retreat is to bring all the actors under the health insurance scheme to come together to create a platform that will enable it move towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Explaining further, Sambo stated that the NHIS is operating a 2004 law which is solely focused on the formal sector. Adding that all the monies coming to the scheme is from contributions from the salary of the formal/public sector workers.

He therefore stated that even if the NHIS is performing at its best, it wouldn’t have covered more than the people in the formal sector in the country.