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    Nigerians urged to embrace health insurance

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    By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

    Nigerians have been advised on the importance of embracing health insurance in view of its enormous benefits to enrollees

    This was part of the outcome of a stakeholders conference organised by the FCT office of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to enlighten the public on the new legal status of the Agency on Thursday in Abuja

    The forum offered opportunities to the Management to enlighten the public on their rights and privileges; HMOs, HCFs duties and responsibilities.

    Formerly known as National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the agency was established by an Act of parliament in 1999 with “the objectives of ensuring access to good health care services to every Nigerian and protecting Nigerian families from financial hardship of huge medical bills”

    However, after about two decades of sustained calls by industry professionals for amendment to the health insurance law, the President in May this year signed the new NHIA Act after it was passed by the National Assembly.

    The Act establishes and empowers the NHIA to ensure provision of health insurance for all Nigerians through a mandatory mechanism, in collaboration with state health insurance agencies.

    The stakeholders forum which took place at Alim Royal Hotel and Suites, in Abuja, and attended by numerous HMOs, MDAs, was declared open by the FCT Coordinator of NHIA, Sir Greg Azubuike.

    Speaking at the event, Azubuike said the essence of the gathering was to enable the participants to know one another, share new ideas and to know what is happening in the ecosystem.

    He pointed out most of them have been in the system for decades, but in pratice they have been facing a lot of challenges.

    Four papers were presented at the event, on The New NHIA Act, by Barr Greg Azubuike; NHIA Programmes – GIFHIP, OPS, TISHIP, by Matthew Egwaba; Enrollee’s Rights, Privileges, Offenses and Redress, by Mrs Unaegbu Nonye and NHIA Benefit Package, by Dr Adamu Pai; while the objective of the forum was given by Mr. Adah Shem.

    The HMOs in attendance included, THT, Zuma, Ultimate AIICO Multishield, United Comprehensive, Greenfield, National Hospital, Garki Hospital, University of Abuja Teaching hospital, Nisa Premier, and Wuse General Hospital and many more.

    Among the MDAs were the DSS, FRSC, ICPC, Ministry of Defence, Finance Ministry, Federal Judicial Service Commission, NAHCON, Ministry of Youth and Sports, COREN, Ministry of Aviation, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing etc.

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