14 November 2012

Nigeria: Join Negotiations for Health Insurance Premiums, Labour, NSITF Urged

The Managing Director of Prohealth Health Maintenance Organisation, Alhaji Danladi Magaji, has called on the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) to be fully involved in negotiating premium of health insurance.

This, according to him, is to ensure that the premium is priced within the reach of Nigerian workers.

Magaji said this at the recent retreat of Prohealth Directors and Managers in Abuja, where he added that the aim of the contributory health scheme should not be profit; but rather the well-being of the workers.

He also appealed to workers to take the scheme seriously as it enables them get medical attention for even the smallest illnesses without waiting to become critically sick to get medical attention. This, he added, would enhance productivity.

"Before the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) set the premium, it consulted with the Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) Operators Forum. We made contributions to the arrival of the premium.

"When the NHIS was planning the Voluntary Contribution Scheme, it got feelers from the operators who are on the field before it arrived at the modalities for the operationalisation of the Scheme," Magaji said.

He disclosed that Prohealth, which is partly owned by the NLC through the NSITF, has been one of the arrow-heads of the campaign for low premiums for the packages under the health scheme, as its objective is to ensure universal coverage for Nigerian workers.

The President of the NLC is a member of the Board of Prohealth and the board is the organ charged with designing policies that are implemented by the management of Prohealth.

"Prohealth ensures that the hospitals or service providers offer good services for money. Our service outlets are encouraged to ensure customers get the best of treatment. The fact that we are owned by the workers gives us that extra burden of ensuring friendliness of workers at all times," Magaji said.

"People must not wait until they are sick before they look for the money to treat themselves. It is better for workers to begin to contribute to a pool that will make money available when they are critically sick and in no position to look for money.

"When workers know that there is money for their healthcare need, they would not wait until they break down completely before seeking medical attention. We all know that health is wealth and the productivity of workers can only be guaranteed when he or she is fully fit," he added.

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