• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Healthcare providers threaten to pull out of national insurance

The Association of Nigeria Private Medical Practitioners (ANPMP) has threatened to pull out of the national health insurance indefinitely, shutting out some of the 16 million enrollees covered by the scheme.

The healthcare providers’ association issued an ultimatum, stating they will stop treating National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) enrollees by August if the NHIA fails to adjust the tariff, which has remained at N750 for the past 12 years.

Despite a decade of inflation squeezing hospital budgets, Kay Adesola, the association’s president, told BusinessDay that the government remains unresponsive to its demands for a tariff increase that reflects the rising costs.

Compounding the problem, the NHIA has also struggled to significantly increase enrollment in the health insurance scheme.

With less than eight percent of Nigeria’s over 220 million population covered after 19 years, a significant portion remains without essential healthcare access.

Current costs far outpace stagnant tariffs for drugs, services, energy, and wages.

Energy bills, for instance, now devours more than 40 percent of hospitals’ overhead costs in Nigeria, ANPMP told BusinessDay earlier.

“We have resolved that within the next three months if we don’t get a proper and equitable review of the national health insurance scheme tariff, we are going to boycott that scheme until further notice,” Adesola said.

“It has been so bad that even when we discuss with members at the top echelon of NHIA, they keep telling us it’s because we have not fought enough. How do you explain using the same tariff you paid me in 2012 in 2024? Even then when they said N750, we rejected it because it was too small. Then you sustain N750 in 2024. It is just not agreeable. We are going ahead and not looking back.”

ANPMP further noted that there is inadequate information and enlightenment for enrollees about health insurance in the country at state and national levels at a recent workshop on the impact of health insurance on the health system.

It said the poor number of enrollees matched with the meagre monthly N750 capitation per life and the poor fee for service has crippled the health industry and endangered the private healthcare providers, pushing some of them into penury.

ANPMP also identified the exclusion of critical conditions such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, and mental health from the NHIA coverage as a huge gap in the efforts to achieve universal health coverage in Nigeria.

The NHIA leadership has requested to dialogue with the association in Abuja on Thursday, opening room for dialogue, ANPMP told BusinessDay.

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