National Health Insurance Scheme is a health insurance established for Nigerians to help access quality medical treatment from most government health centers in any part of Nigeria at little or no cost. This insurance policy includes every aspect of health issues aside extreme cases such as major operations, kidney infection, heart surgery and others. Ailments such as Malaria, Typhoid and others are treated free of charge under this scheme in most government hospitals in Nigeria.
Pending the introduction of this scheme, most Nigerians disburse a lot of money in health centers for diagnosis and medications or treatments. As a result, the poor people in the country especially the inhabitants of the rural regions find it hard to go to hospitals, clinics, or health centre’s to access quality medical care; instead they opt for self-prescription and would prefer go to chemists and pharmacies to get drugs.The habit of self-medication exhibited by a majority of Nigerians as a result of the lack or limited fund to pay hospitals bills led to hike in health challenges resulting ultimately to death, physical disabilities, extreme complication and more.
To reduce this ugly situation that is destroying the health of Nigerians, the Federal Government of Nigeria created a corporate body under Act 35 of the1999 Constitution tagged as National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). This insurance scheme was established to allow average Nigerians in any part of the country access quality health care at reduced or no cost. National Health Insurance Scheme was created to come to the rescue of Nigerians who may find it difficult to access quality health care as a result of one reason or the other.
WHAT DOES NHIS COVER
The Formal Sector Social Health Insurance Programme
This is an option of health insurance scheme where the healthcare of employees in the public sector is being paid for and taken care of from the funds made by the monthly employee and employers contribution.
Voluntary Contributor Social Health Insurance Programme
Voluntary contributor’s social health insurance scheme is made for those who are not currently covered by any of the NHIS programmes, and for all those who may not have been satisfied with the existing health care services in Nigeria.
Tertiary Institution Social Health Insurance Programme
The tertiary institution social health insurance programme is created for students of higher institutions like universities and polytechnics universities, colleges of education and agriculture, nursing schools etc.
Community-Based Social Health Insurance Programme
Community-Based Social Health Insurance Programme is one of the informal health schemes in the country. It covers communities including families and individuals occupation-based groups.
The members pay in funds monthly or in advance, and can also source for funds through grants, formal launching, fund-raising events, governmental organizations and more.The funds in total is used for the healthcare of the particular community involved.
Public Primary Pupils Social Health Insurance Programme
Public Primary Pupils Social Health Insurance Programme is established for public primary schools pupils all over the country with the goal to provide access to quality health care services for children between the ages of 6-12 years.
Vulnerable Group Social Health Insurance Programmes
Due to the need for people with physical disabilities including the old, less privileged, physically challenged, pregnant women, prisoners and children under 5 years of age to get adequate healthcare services, the government established the vulnerable group social health insurance programme to provide sufficienthealth care services for the participants in the country.The funds used for this service is generated by the contributions made by the federal, state and local governments, civil society organizations, and development partners in Nigeria.
BENEFITS OF NHIS
Here aresome of the benefits of registering with the NHIS:
- 21 days per year of health care while staying at a standard ward.
- Maternity care for at least up to 4 live births for all insured contributors.
- Free Specialist consultations (pediatricians, gynaecologists, physicians, surgeons, physiotherapists etc.).
- Free Participation in the National Immunization Programme (preventive care immunization).
- Emergency first aid, health education, ante and postnatal care for pregnant womenand family planning (counselling).
- Outpatient care with required medicine.
These are only a portion of the benefits you can expect to get from the NHIS.
There is really nothing tasky about getting health insurance in Nigeria. Usually, you should have been enrolled in the scheme, but if you are not, it is easily done.
If you need an account on NHIS website, here is all you are required to do:
- Visit the official portal of National Health Insurance Scheme Nigeria (www.nhisonline.com.ng).
- On the home page, find the button that allows you register as a member and click on it.
- Enter the required information (your NHIS number, surname, date of birth and random code) and click Submit.
You will be able to create your account on the NHIS portal by providing the necessary information, such as your e-mail, login, password and more. After that is done, your registration is complete. You are now successfully registered into NHIS. Now you can access your account by inputting your login/email and password in the login section of the website.
The procedure outlined above is for persons who belong to the formal sector i.e employees and others. If you are not an employee but a student for example, but you still want to enroll with NHIS, you can register as a voluntary contributor. For that, you will need to follow these steps:
- Find a local participating Health Maintenance Organisation (HMO) around you and purchase a voucher. Alternatively, you can jump this step and utilizethe Remita payment instead.
- Visit www.nhisonline.com.ng and find the button in the top right corner that indicates Voluntary Contributors.
- Click the button, scroll down until you establish the link for registration and enter.
- Fill the form that appears before youand ensure you fill everything correctly.
- At the end of the application, you will be required to input your state and LGA, and that will automatically limit the number of healthcare facilities you can select from. Choose the one that is most suitable for you. If none are, try selecting different LGAs or states.
- At the very end, you will be required to choose your payment method. If you have a voucher, you will be required to provide its information on the following page. If you select Remita, you will be redirected to a website where you can finish your payment.Once you have finished your application and paid the necessary fees, you would be enrolled on the scheme.
Membership is valid for one year. Members will then be required to renew their membership every year. Members are advised to renew their membership a month before its expiry. The procedures for membership renewal are as follows :
- Members shall present their ID cards for renewal.
- Members who fail to renew their membership after one year will have their membership deactivated.
- Members who fail to renew their membership within three months of expiry will be treated as defaulters.
- Defaulters will serve a three month waiting period before accessing healthcare under NHIS, aside for pregnant women and children under five year olds.
- The membership card of all categories of members expires every five years. Membership cards shall therefore be replaced once every five years.
At renewal, you will be required to fill a renewal form with the following information:
- Full name – if there is any change of name there should be legal document of change of name, e.g. marriage certificate, affidavit
- Date of birth
- NHIS member unique number
- Contact number
- Residential address
- Biometric information