The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has over N30 billion with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), after 14 years of operations and only 5% coverage in the country.
According to The Nation, Darlington Nwokocha, Chairman of the House of Representatives Joint Committees on Insurance and Actuarial Matters, Health Care Services and Health Institutions, disclosed this during an investigative hearing on the activities of the NHIS, after the house ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the scheme due to complaints from different stakeholders.
Mr Nwokocha stated that the organized public hearing was designed to analyze and resolve the challenges in NHIS operations and controversies among stakeholders in the health insurance sector. Over 380 petitions were received from aggrieved persons who received poor treatment from some hospitals which claimed that Health Management Organizations (HMOs) owed them huge amounts of money despite being paid in advance by the NHIS.
“Consequently, it is needful to situate our experiences so far in the health insurance sector in a proper context. This will enable us to interrogate if any of the three – NHIS, HMOs and health care providers critical players in the current scheme have measured up to expectation.
“However, there is sufficient evidence to indicate that the current scenario has failed, and is only serving the interest of all others, except the Nigerian citizens.
“Perhaps, this explains why we as a parliament, individually and collectively, have received over 380 petitions in our committees from aggrieved Nigerians, who were shabbily treated by some hospitals, who in turn accused HMOs of owing them huge sums of money after being paid in advance by the NHIS,” said Darlington Nwokocha.
According to the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Bureau of Statistics, less than 5% of the country’s population has been covered under the scheme, leaving about 95% of Nigerians uncovered.
“The Federal Government in creating the NHIS designed it to encompass government employees, the organised private sector and the informal sector, including children under five, and people living with permanent disability and prison inmates…
“It is also important to understand the complexities surrounding the take-off and implementation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, resulting in some states being left out, while there is over N30 billon at the CBN, yet to be accessed, from 2018,” Darlington Nwokocha said.