Avon HMO has expanded its range of health insurance coverage to include add-on plans that cover acute and chronic medical cases in one of the earliest market reactions to the National Health Insurance Act repealed by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2022.
The health maintenance organization unveiled four categories of plans aligning its operations with the Act’s demand that private insurers should stick strictly to the provision of supplementary services that are not covered under the basic minimum package.
The NHIA Act 2022 empowered only state governments to provide the basic minimum package as it made health insurance mandatory for all and established a vulnerable group fund to fend for over 83 million of Nigeria’s poor population.
Ahead of a full-blown implementation expected before the end of 2023 first half, Avon’s new plans: Avon Secure Lite, Avon Secure, Avon Revive, and Avon ACE global will help existing clients retain their coverage under preferred health providers with wider offerings.
Adesimbo Bello-Ukiri, the chief executive officer, Avon HMO said the new set of top-up plans have been designed to provide people with extra protection from severe or terminal illnesses at an affordable premium.
“These health plans have been designed to cater to a wide range of people at various income levels by providing them with increased coverage for hospitalization, treatment and required rehabilitation in the event of critical, acute, and life-threatening health conditions and emergencies,” she said speaking at the product unveiling at the company’s headquarters in Lagos.
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“Their benefits include coverage for all consultations, necessary investigations, medications, and other treatments necessary for conditions such as cancer, renal failure, heart attack, stroke etc. For many Nigerians, having a plan from this range can be the difference between life and death, especially as they would not have to resort to crowdfunding on social media to pay hefty medical bills.”
The critical care top-up plans also provide support services like care coordination across reputable hospitals nationwide, case management by experienced medical professionals, and post-treatment rehabilitation.
Olufemi Akingbade, general manager, National Health Insurance Authority said Avon’s initiative represents the desired result expected through the act, noting that the implementation of the act will get to a point where private insurers like AVON will stop selling those basic minimum packages to individuals and corporate bodies.
“We want private insurers to be in the business of supplementary or complementary packages. What is missing in the basic minimum package is what HMOs should concentrate on and sell. One of the things we are also doing is to encourage the state health insurance agencies to sell the basic minimum package which is defined in the National Health Act,” he said.
With these new health plans, Avon HMO hopes to strengthen its position as a market leader. It was the first HMO in Nigeria to provide health plans for the retail market segment; catering to individuals, couples, and families that did not belong to any corporate organization. The company also launched an online subscription plan that offers Nigerians the opportunity to subscribe and pay for health plans on their phones and other mobile devices.
Tony Elumelu, Group Chairman, Heirs Holdings Limited speaking at the launch said health is critical to the prosperity of a nation and Avon HMO has gone beyond health management services to enlighten, educate and insure everyone.
“I commend the team and recommend the top-up products that they have just unveiled to everyone irrespective of the HMO that they use,” he said.
Speaking further, Bello-Ukiri noted that the critical care top-up plans offer a wide range of options and advantages, even for those that are already subscribed to state, federal, or private health insurance plans.
“For people on health plans with coverage limits that barely cover serious illnesses and acute conditions, our critical care top-up plans are a valuable addition. They are also perfect for people who claim to never fall ill but still want the peace of mind that comes with having a health plan that adequately covers sudden and critical health emergencies,” she said.