NIGERIA – Nigeria’s President Major General Muhammadu Buhari has signed the National Health Insurance Authority Bill 2021 that mandates all employers and employees in public, private, and informal sectors as well as all other residents of Nigeria have access to health insurance.

The Health Insurance Act approves and empowers the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to ensure the provision of health insurance for all Nigerians through a mandatory mechanism in collaboration with state health insurance agencies.

The legislation also strengthens and authenticates the National Health Insurance Authority as a regulatory authority to discharge a wide range of regulatory and promotion functions to ultimately ensure that every Nigerian receives access to quality and affordable health care.

The new health insurance law signing follows the Federal Government observance that only states with established health insurance schemes and contributory schemes would benefit from the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF).

Subsequently, the newly signed law by the Nigerian President repeals the National Health Insurance Scheme Act 2004 which outlined that states were required to pay a 50 percent counterpart fund to access the total fund for the BHCPF.

Every state that has established a State Health Insurance or Contributory Scheme and complies with this Act’s requirements shall be eligible to participate in the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund as established under the National Health Act and its guidelines,” according to the newly signed Act.

The NHIS Act also seeks alleviate poverty in the country by reducing avoidable deaths, ensuring quality health services, reducing medical tourism and capital flight while contributing to Nigeria’s economic development.

In addition, President Buhari’s signing of the new Act is part of efforts by the Federal Government to ensure that Nigeria achieves Universal Health Coverage through health insurance schemes since health financing is very inadequate in the Nigerian health system.

The bill is expected to cover up to 83 million poor people who cannot afford premiums for insurance schemes to provide a robust, affordable and sustainable financial mechanism for health and ultimately enhance the ability of Nigeria to achieve Universal Health Coverage by 2030.

The new law will work in line with state governments health insurance schemes by empowering state governments to accredit primary and secondary healthcare facilities and ensure the enrollment of Nigerians in the scheme.

Moreover, the Federal Government has proactively implemented strategies to achieve Universal Health coverage using Primary Health Care as the corner stone to increase efficient, qualitative and affordable healthcare facilities and services across the 11 Local Government Areas of the state.

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