Across the globe, community based healthcare insurance (CBHI) schemes are aimed at protecting indigent individuals against the high costs of seeking medical care and treatment of illnesses for people who are unable to get health insurance.
With members under the CBHI scheme regularly paying small premiums into a collective fund which is then used to pay for health services that they require, these schemes are designed for people that live in rural areas or the informal sector who are unable to get adequate public, private, or employer-sponsored health insurance.
In a bid aimed at ensuring people have access to quality healthcare, a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by Hygeia Community Health Care (HCHC), Dutch Health insurance Fund and Kwara State Government towards the state-wide expansion of the State’s Community Health Insurance Programme (CHIP).
The programme, which is expected to run from 2013 to 2017 in all local government areas of the state, is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) facilitated by HCHC and PharmAccess Foundation with a premium subsidy funding agreement between the Kwara State Government and the Dutch Health Insurance Fund. Under the arrangement, the State Government increasingly takes the health insurance premium subsidy financing.
Disclosing this in Lagos, Lars Stork, group CEO, Hygeia Group, described the development as a major milestone. Stork stated that the commitment of Health Insurance Fund, PharmAccess and HCHC to partner with the Kwara State Government aims to strengthen the healthcare delivery system of the state through community health insurance schemes.
He disclosed that the signing of the MoU which guarantees expansion of the scheme to achieve universal health coverage in the State was preceded by passage of Kwara State’s Community Health Insurance legislation in 2012.
Stork said funds have been mobilised in addition to donations and subsidies towards facilitating over 400,000 hospital visits, 6,500 safe deliveries and 2,000 surgical procedures at public and private healthcare facilities without need for out-of-pocket payments by enrollees.
“Significant investments have also been made on infrastructural upgrades, purchase of equipment, improvement of quality of service, and provision of access to care. It is anticipated that this will serve as an impetus for replication or adoption by other state governments in achieving universal healthcare coverage, improvement of healthcare indices, especially the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and socioeconomic profile of the country,” Stork added.
Currently, the premium rate for health insurance is N4, 500 in Kwara State but enrollees are expected to contribute only N300 per person per annum.
Health experts believe that this move by the state government to subsidise healthcare will serve as an impetus for replication or adoption by other Nigerian state governments towards universal health access and the improvement of healthcare indices and socioeconomic profile of the country.