Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has embarked on sensitisation of enrollees in Enugu State on its new operational guidelines as contained in NHIA Act, 2022.
The South-East Zonal Coordinator, NHIA, Dr Eke Jonathan, who spoke at the event, said the sensitisation was aimed at increasing the knowledge and awareness of participants on their rights and privileges under the scheme.
Jonathan was represented by the Deputy Director, South-East Zone, NHIA, Mrs Ngozi Nnadi.
He said the forum also served as a significant platform to improve enrollees’ experiences and satisfaction under the NHIA by ensuring their access to quality and affordable healthcare.
“By coming together at this sensitisation and enrollees’ forum, we can collectively create a better working healthcare system.
“We can also build a society where every individual has access to quality healthcare services without facing financial burdens.
“Through the scheme, we can alleviate the worries of medical expenses and ensure that no citizen is left behind when it comes to receiving adequate healthcare.
“I want to assure you that NHIA, starting from the Director-General, Prof. Mohammed Sambo, is committed to ensuring that it achieves its lofty goal of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for all Nigerians,” he said.
Jonathan said that through collaboration and open dialogue, the stakeholders could collectively find innovative solutions to existing challenges and make necessary improvements for the efficient functioning of the scheme.
“As we engage in discussions, share knowledge, and exchange ideas during this forum, I urge you all to actively participate, ask questions and voice your concerns,” he said.
Also, Nnadi said the operational guidelines in the new act came about because of NHIA law which had made health insurance compulsory for all Nigerians, including legal residents.
“This is the major milestone that has been achieved and every Nigerian and legal residents are expected to enroll into one social health insurance.
“With the Act, NHIA has been made the promoter, the regulator and integrator of all health insurance programmes in Nigeria both private and social.
“The law also provides fund for the vulnerable groups where government covers about 83 million vulnerable groups and replicate same in states for a universal health coverage we all clamour for,” Nnadi said.
Dr Victor Ezeaku, Head of Department, Standard and Quality Assurance Unit, Enugu, who spoke on “Benefit packages for the enrollees,” said the benefit packages were enormous and comprehensive.
According to him, the authority renders preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative services.
A participant, Ezekwu Ogochukwu from the Immigration Service, Enugu State, said the training would enable her chose the right hospital and be aware of her rights in order to report any issue to the authority.
Another beneficiary, Okeke Oluchukwu from Annunciation Specialist Hospital, Enugu, attributed alleged delay in the treatment of some NHIA patients to the Health Maintenance Orgainisation (HMO).
She said the HMOs needed to send a code to them showing approval for treatment before treating secondary care patients.
Reacting to this, Mr Iredu Chukwuma, the Regional Business Manager, HCL Limited, South-East, blamed interruption and fluctuation in internet services for the delay in releasing the requested code to healthcare providers.
He said that the volume of requests sometimes slowed down the server.