NHIS unveils ‘health insurance under one roof’

National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)

To reduce bottlenecks and fragmentations in service delivery, Nigeria’s Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), has unveiled the “Health Insurance Under One Roof”.

The Executive Secretary of NHIS, Mohammed Sambo, shared the strategy with the leadership of the State Social Health Insurance Agencies at a recent meeting in Abuja, according to a statement by the scheme’s spokesperson, Ayo Osinlu

The concept recommends the clear definition of scopes of health insurance in Nigeria, and the determination of who covers each of the segments between NHIS and the state agencies, the statement highlighted.

Mr Sambo said the formal sector remains under the purview of NHIS, while the State Health Insurance Schemes (SHIS) takes charge of the informal sector population at the grassroots, which is closer to the state government system.

He, however, explained that in the proposed arrangement, “the development and deployment of ICT solutions, as well as Information, Education and Communication activities will have overarching and cross-cutting status, providing overall support services for the operational and management processes of health insurance in Nigeria.”

NHIS Conundrum

NHIS was established to reduce out-of-pocket spending for health to the barest minimum but has not lived to that mandate. Because of this, SHIS was birthed.

Lagos, Niger, Delta, Anambra are among about 20 states that have begun implementation.

However, there is yet to be a clear-cut synergy on how NHIS and SHIS will operate – either jointly or independently.

“The greatest impediment to speedy attainment of universal health coverage in the country remains fragmentation of resources, policies, efforts and strategies”, Wednesday’s statement read.

“This will not only result in loss of time and energy, but is in total contradiction of the most significant principle of health insurance which is pooling

“To facilitate the finalisation of the details of this concept and receive inputs for strengthening it, the NHIS boss announced that a retreat will be held in the second week of February, to generate a framework for developing a set of conditions to produce a system for the effective operation and administration of Health Insurance Under One Roof.”

The new strategy appears to be familiar with the Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR), a policy designed to integrate all PHC services under one authority.

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