Nigeria To Take Health Insurance Contributions From HMOs’ Custody

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Director-General, National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Prof. Mohammed Sambo, has revealed that the Federal Government will take health insurance contributions from the custody of health maintenance organisations (HMOs).

Speaking Tuesday in Abuja during a sensitization workshop for journalists on the NHIA Act, he said the money would now go directly to healthcare facilities.

He said the NHIA and state health insurance schemes would drive the provision of the basic healthcare package; while HMOs would be providing any health insurance beyond basic healthcare services, providing private health insurance and performing the role of a third party administrator within the national health insurance system.

“HMOs were controlling everything before. Now, NHIA will take that responsibility and the money will go directly to the healthcare facilities, but not for basic health care services,” Sambo said.

He noted that the NHIA Act does not impose a telecom tax on Nigerians as a source of funding.

President Muhammadu Buhari had signed the NHIA Bill into law on May 19. The Act repealed the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Act and made health insurance mandatory for Nigerians.

Sambo recalled that the Senate had earlier included a one kobo per second call tax in the bill so that the aggregate could be used to fund health for the poor, but it was removed.

He added: “It was removed, but that does not mean it is not going to be revisited. We are advocating for it to be in the financial act.”