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Healthcare Industry April 29, 2023

Health Insurance In Nigeria: Understanding The Options And Benefits

Medically Reviewed by Pharm Ose

Written by Adaobi Oduenyi

According to Wordometer's analysis of the latest United Nations data, Nigeria's population has reached a staggering 220,159,984 as of 2023. This makes it not only the most populous country in Africa but also the seventh most populous country in the world.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that in Nigeria, out-of-pocket payments account for about 70% of healthcare spending, with only 30% of healthcare costs being covered by public and private health insurance. This high out-of-pocket expenditure on healthcare limits access to care and disproportionately affects low-income households.

Barriers to Nigerian Healthcare

  • Inadequate Infrastructure:this includes a shortage of hospitals, clinics, medical equipment, and basic amenities like clean water and electricity.

  • Scarcity of healthcare professionals:particularly doctors and nurses, who are essential for diagnosing, treating, and managing a wide range of medical conditions.

  • Barriers due to other factors:a lot of Nigerians have limited access to quality healthcare due to factors such as poverty, remote and underserved locations, or lack of health education.

Given these challenges, it's crucial for Nigerians to have access to affordable health insurance coverage that can help them manage their healthcare costs and ensure they receive the care they need. Affordable health insurance coverage would be very beneficial for low-income families and individuals who may struggle to pay for healthcare out of pocket.

By providing access to preventive services, like; vaccinations and check-ups, affordable health insurance can also help prevent or detect health problems early on, before they become more serious and costly to treat.

“Health insurance is a crucial aspect of healthcare in Nigeria. It provides individuals and families with access to quality healthcare, cost savings, and peace of mind.“

What is Health Insurance?

Health insurance is a scheme that helps one get good medical care without paying for everything. The person pays a small amount of money each month or year, and in return, the insurance company pays for some or all of their medical expenses for a certain amount of time.

This can be very helpful in communities where medical care is not satisfactory. With health insurance, one can see a doctor or get other medical services without having to pay for every visit.

Types of Health Insurance in Nigeria

There are different types of health insurance options available in Nigeria, and they are;

  • National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Public Health Insurance: This is a government-run program that began operating in 1999 by the National Health Act, the scheme is designed to provide affordable healthcare to individuals and families who cannot afford to pay for healthcare out of pocket. To participate in the NHIS, individuals must register with one of the accredited health maintenance organizations (HMOs) that partner with the scheme.

  • Private health insurance: is offered by private insurance companies and provides coverage for medical expenses, hospitalization, surgical procedures, and medications. The coverage and costs of private health insurance plans vary depending on the provider and the level of coverage chosen.

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Benefits of Health Insurance in Nigeria

  • Access to better healthcare:With health insurance, you can afford to get medical treatment from qualified healthcare professionals without worrying about how much it will cost. This means you can get the best possible care for your health needs, which can help you stay healthy and recover faster from illnesses.

  • Financial protection:Health insurance helps to protect you from the high costs of medical treatment. Without insurance, a single hospital stay or surgery can quickly wipe out your savings or put you in debt. With insurance, you pay a small amount (called a premium) every month or year, and the insurance company takes care of the rest of the bill.

  • Peace of mind:Knowing that you have health insurance can give you peace of mind. You don't have to worry about how you'll pay for medical treatment if you get sick or injured. Instead, you can focus on getting better.

  • Preventive care:Health insurance often covers preventive care services like check-ups, screenings, and vaccinations. These services can help you catch health problems early before they become more serious and costly to treat.

  • Coverage for pre-existing conditions:If you have a pre-existing medical condition (like diabetes or hypertension), getting health insurance can be especially important. Without insurance, you may struggle to get the medical care you need to manage your condition. With insurance, you can get the care you need without worrying about the cost.

Overall, health insurance can be a valuable investment in your health and financial well-being. It can help you get the care you need to stay healthy, protect you from the high costs of medical treatment, and give you peace of mind knowing that you're covered.

Health insurance is a crucial aspect of healthcare in Nigeria. It provides individuals and families with access to quality healthcare, cost savings, and peace of mind. While there are challenges to expanding health insurance coverage in Nigeria, efforts are being made to increase coverage and provide affordable healthcare to all Nigerians. It is important for individuals to explore their health insurance options and choose a plan that meets their needs and budget. With the right health insurance coverage, Nigerians can enjoy better health outcomes and improved quality of life.

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