• Monday, July 22, 2024
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FG plans health insurance for pensioners

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The federal government through the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) says it has put in motion, the process to extend health insurance to pensioners.

Mohammed Sambo, director general of National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) gave this indication during a courtesy visit by the executive secretary of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) in Abuja.

Sambo said extending health insurance to pensioners was consistent with best practices around the world, adding that the most effective care for aging persons was to give them unqualified access to affordable and quality healthcare.

He stated that coverage for pensioners was a critical aspect of attaining universal health coverage, adding that government was favourably disposed to ensuring that persons who have served the country with a better part of their lives should have access to care without further financial burden.

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On the issue of how the initiative will be funded, Sambo stressed that healthcare must be paid for because it is impossible for it to be free, adding that support of relevant government agencies would be required to achieve sustainable financing.
Within the context of organizations’ support, he noted that the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the Department of State Services (DSS) were already paying for health care coverage of their retirees, noting that funding healthcare for pensioners was critical to institutionalizing the initiative and making it enduring.

Speaking specifically on efforts to be made, Sambo noted that the Authority was in a position to commence the process of coverage of pensioners through an internal budgetary provision.

Speaking earlier, the executive secretary of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) Chioma Ejikeme highlighted the plight of pensioners around the country, noting that the law setting up PTAD gives leverage to the agency to explore ways of improving the welfare of pensioners.

Ejikeme noted that promoting the welfare of pensioners was central to the operations of the agency, adding that PTAD had worked tirelessly to ensure a transparent and accountable system for retirees.

According to her, an ICT- driven system codenamed, “I am Alive” Confirmation Solution has enabled a verification process that cleaned up the database by removing fictitious pensioners, maintaining that PTAD has developed the most reliable data on pensioners.

At the meeting, both agencies resolved to raise a bilateral committee to fine-tune the protocol of enrolling the 237,000 pensioners under PTAD for health insurance.