The House of Representatives has commenced investigation into the activities of the National Health Insurance Scheme ( NHIS), following complaints by stakeholders over operations of the scheme.
The investigation is being done by the House joint Committees on Insurance and Actuarial Matters, Health Care Services and Health Institutions.
Speaking at the investigative hearing, Chairman, House Committee on Insurance and Actuarial Matters, Darlington Nwokocha, said it was to analyse and address challenges in operations of the NHIS and controversies among stakeholders in the health insurance sector.
Nwokocha stated that 14 years after the commencement of the NHIS, records from the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Bureau of Statistics indicated that only less than five per cent of the country’s population were covered under the scheme.
“The Federal Government in creating the NHIS designed it to encompass government employees, the organised private sector and the informal sector, including children under five, people living with permanent disability and prison inmates…”
However, the lawmaker noted that sufficient evidence indicated that the scheme was not serving the interest of the citizens.
“Consequently, it is needful to situate our experiences so far in the health insurance sector in a proper context. This will enable us interrogate if any of the three- NHIS, Health Management Organizations (HMOs) and health care providers- critical players in the current scheme have measured up to expectation. However, there is sufficent evidence to indicate that the current scenario has failed, and is only serving the interest of all others, except the Nigerian citizens. Perhaps, this explains why we, as a parliament, individually and collectively, have received over 380 petitions in our committees from aggrieved Nigerians, who were shabbily treated by some hospitals, who in turn accused HMOs of owing them huge sums of money after being paid in advance by the NHIS.
“It is also important to understand the complexities surrounding the take-off and implementation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, resulting in some states being left out, while there is over N30 billon at the CBN, yet to be accessed, from the 2018,” Nwokocha stated.