Moses Emorinken, Abuja
The Federal Government Thursday formally launched the Group, Individual and Family Social Health Insurance Programme (GIFSHIP), which offers citizens an opportunity to participate and benefit from health insurance, especially for those not currently captured under any form of health insurance by an employer.
The GIFSHIP will provide an opportunity for affordable individual enrolment, enrolment of a family unit or a group of people. Any of the enrolments can also be sponsored by well-meaning individuals, Trusts, or organizations.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who formally flagged-off the GIFSHIP of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), in Abuja, explained that the programme will rapidly expand the scope of healthcare coverage in the urgent quest to attain Universal Health Coverage while leveraging a comprehensive ICT profiling to facilitate its implementation.
He said, “This new programme addresses the challenges and barriers encountered during implementation of the Vital Contributors Social Health Insurance Programme (VCSHIP), both by beneficiaries and operators. GIFSHIP eliminates known difficulties as it creates additional value by expanding and upgrading VCSHIP for better reach, service quality and user experience.
“Worthy of note is the recent approval by the Federal Executive Council, of the e-NHIS Project, a robust ICT infrastructure to be developed and deployed to facilitate enrollee verification, access to care, data collection and management. It will include analytics, which will feed into a disease map that will be of great benefit in the management of public health across the nation.
“This comprehensive ICT profile will be deployed to facilitate the implementation of GIFSHIP, among other activities of NHIS, and give subscribers easier access to service and more value for money that will support their health-seeking endeavours.
“A major objective of GIFSHIP is to rapidly expand the scope of healthcare coverage in our urgent quest to attain Universal Health Coverage, for which we cannot afford to leave anyone behind. GIFSHIP offers citizens an opportunity to participate and benefit from health insurance.
“I, therefore, invite members of the polity, philanthropists, Nigerians in the diaspora, among others, to take advantage of this fantastic option to provide healthcare coverage for their families, communities, clans and enrol members of the constituencies, loved ones and relations, thereby giving them financial access to comprehensive quality healthcare at the point of need. The larger the pool of enrollees, the stronger the insurance base will be.
“The Basic healthcare provision fund will be dedicated to the poor and vulnerable as captured in our social register. The data, financial and claims management will be assured with the secured electronic platform set up in collaboration with NIGCOMSAT and approved by the Federal Execute Council that will issue each enrollee a personal ecard that allows him to access medical treatment anywhere in the country, while fully assuring privacy and data protection. There are options for basic cover and coverage upgrades.”
The Executive Secretary and CEO of the NHIS Prof. Mohammed Nasir Sambo, in his address, said, “Today event, represents one of the major reform efforts in which the Vital Insurance Programme (VCSHIP) which was earlier designed to bring on-board individuals and self-employed persons into the NHIS is being redesigned and expanded to enhance its effectiveness and efficiency. Some of the constraints of the VCSHIP include low level of awareness, adverse selection, moral hazard and inefficiency.
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“The following series of consultations and deliberations, a new programme to be known as Group, Individual and Family Social Health Insurance Programme (GIFSHIP) is now being introduced.
“This programme will enable individuals, families and groups to join the NHIS ecosystem. Some of the appealing features of this programme are the inbuilt mechanisms to guard against moral hazard, adverse selection as well as allowing room for organizations, political office holders, donor agencies, multinational corporations, philanthropists and people in diaspora to contribute their quota towards the attainment of UHC.”
According to the NHIS, membership for the scheme will include – small scale enterprises with less than 10 staff, non-cohesive groups of persons such as associations, unions and institutions outside the Organized Private Sector (OPS), self-employed individuals, families and groups, retirees and retiree associations, diaspora groups, foreigners living in Nigeria, and adopted persons, such as those paid for by members of the National Assembly and Philanthropists etc.
For the individual subscriber, the contribution rate is N45, 000 per annum. The subscriber may add two direct dependents. A family will contribute N60, 000 for four biologically related persons. Each extra dependent of a family will be enrolled at N15, 000.
Ten persons shall be the minimum number of persons in a group, except small scale enterprises with less than 10 employees. Group enrolment is at a contribution rate of N15, 000 per person per annum. The rates are subject to changes as may be determined from time to time by the NHIS.