THE BENEFITS OF MEDICAL INSURANCE ON HEALTH CARE SERVICES IN NIGERIA
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1.1 Background Of The Study
The contribution of the health care sector to national development remains a critical concern. In Nigeria, health care services are deemed unsatisfactory and insufficient in addressing the requirements and desires of the people, as evidenced by the population’s poor health. According to Irinoye, (2016), it is reasonable to suggest that some of the fatalities and major diseases that occur among Nigerians are caused by situations that may be readily avoided with easy solutions. In the course of mild diseases, a lack of early and adequate care frequently raises the risk of significant consequences Even in times of financial constraint, the current high incidence of illness and death may be significantly decreased by a more logical utilization of existing resources (Irinoye, 2015).
To respond to the situation, various reform programmes have been implemented, and the administration has stated its willingness to undertake a bold system overhaul. The government has developed and executed a National Health Policy in an effort to guarantee that all citizens achieve a condition of perfect physical, mental, and social well-being. The National Health Policy and Strategy for Health for All Nigerians was implemented in 1988 and amended in 2004. Care Resources, National Health Interventions and Services Delivery, National Health Information Systems, Partnership for Health Development, National Research, and Health Care Laws are the key policy thrusts of the National Health System.
Despite a well-structured health system, the growth of Primary Health Care (PHC) has not benefited the health of the people, particularly those living in rural regions. As a result, as part of the government’s effort to solve the sector’s challenges, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was launched to address Nigeria’s health concerns. The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is a corporate organisation formed by the Federal Government of Nigeria under Act 35 of 1999 to enhance the health of all Nigerians at an affordable cost. Health insurance is a strategy that prevents insured individuals from incurring significant medical expenditures during a period of illness. A client pays a regular payment to a management institution as part of the basic health insurance process. This organisation is in charge of depositing money into a fund and paying a healthcare provider for the cost of the consumer’s care (Conn and Walford, 1998). According to NHIS data from 2011, 5% of the population is enrolled in the plan (NHIS 2012b). The majority of people included work for the federal and state governments and reside in cities (Lawan, Iliyasu, and Daso 2016). However, more than 60% of Nigerians work in the informal sector and survive on less than $1 a day in rural regions (as cited by UPI, 2012). They cannot afford excellent quality health care because they lack sufficient financial means when faced with health difficulties thus the need to resort to other private medical insurance.
Medical insurance is often meant to considerably provide for the welfare of citizens, particularly the least fortunate in society (Kutzin 2017). Out-of-pocket (OOP) health finance remains substantial, accounting for about 95.3% of private health expenditure (PvtHE) in 2010 (PvtHE as a proportion of Total Health Expenditure (THE) was 62.1% in 2010), and has a disastrous effect on the poor. Many Nigerians have died as a result of their failure to satisfy this demand (Lawan 2017). In essence, this would provide access to treatment while mitigating financial risk. The system has been in place since 2005, with the goal of reaching universal health coverage by 2015. Based on the foregoing, this study seeks to determine the impact of national health insurance on Nigeria’s elderly inhabitants.
1.2 Statement Of The Problem
In recent times, Nigeria has a life expectancy of 52.3 years, which is lower than the African average of 56.05 years, and infant and maternal mortality rates are alarming. Despite the federal government’s attempts to enhance healthcare service, Nigeria’s health indices have either stagnated or worsened during the last decade. As observed by Dika (2019) every year, one million children under the age of five die, the majority from neonatal causes, malaria, and pneumonia. Maternal mortality is 630 per 100,000 live births, comparable to that of low-income nations such as Lesotho and Cameroon. HIV infects an estimated 3.3 million Nigerians due to limited access to prevention, care, and treatment. Lawan 92017) posits thaat whereas most Nigerian do not have opportunity to enjoy national health insurance, most of them have resort to private medical insurance even as Nigeria is likewise dealing with the dual burden of communicable and noncommunicable illnesses.
Whereas the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) medical insurance is an endeavour by the Nigerian federal government to offer universal health coverage (UHC) to its inhabitants, Dutta and Hongoro (2018) asserts that private sector medical insurance has been more effective and ensures all people’ access to and usage of high-quality health-care services, as well as protection for all persons from any catastrophic financial impact of illness. Gustafsson-Wright and Schellekens (2018) asserts that medical insurance provide both access to health services and financial security, such as avoiding out-of-pocket costs that limit service affordability and, ideally, some reimbursement for productivity loss due to sickness. Although there have been various studies on the benefits of medical insurance, less emphasis has been made to its influence on health care services in Nigeria. Upon this backdrop, the study seeks to examine the benefits of medical insurance on health care services in Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives Of The Study
The overall aim of this study is to critically examine the benefits of medical insurance on health care services in Nigeria.. Hence, the study will be channeled to the following specific objectives;
i. Investigate the level of awareness of health insurance scheme among Nigerians.
ii. Determine whether medical insurance scheme contribute to health-related welfare of common Nigerians.
iii. Ascertain whether medical insurance scheme improve the quality of live of aged Nigerians.
iv. Ascertain whether national health insurance scheme gives access to health services and financial protection to Nigerians.
1.4 Research Question
The study will be guided by the following questions;
i. What is the level of awareness of health insurance scheme among Nigerians?
ii. Does national health insurance scheme contribute to health-related welfare of aged Nigerians?
iii. Does national health insurance scheme improve the quality of live of average Nigerians?
iv. Does national health insurance scheme give access to health services and financial protection to average Nigerians?
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