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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Ondo’s Health Insurance Scheme

The commencement of the long anticipated Health Insurance Scheme in Ondo State is a welcome relief to the citizens in order to access basic medical care which hitherto is unaffordable due to paucity of funds.

NO DOUBT, the scheme is a major landmark because it helps subscribers to pay their medical bills effortlessly and seamlessly without getting into debt if something goes awry.

It is a social security system which guarantees the provision of needed health services to people on the payment of token contributions at regular intervals. Globally, health insurance is important to safeguard one’s family, fight lifestyle diseases and deal with medical inflation among others.

THE National Health Insurance Scheme, was established under Act 35 of the 1999 Constitution by the Federal Government aimed at improving the health of all Nigerians at an affordable cost through various repayment systems. The scheme is geared towards reducing out of pocket expenditure. It was introduced because government’s fund was becoming insufficient and most times when people fall ill, they have no money to access healthcare; hence, the need to pool resources together to enable them to afford medical bills.

Taking a cue from the federal government, the Ondo State government recently begun insurance package in the state with the establishment of the Ondo State Contributory Health Commission (ODCHC) to coordinate, supervise and regulate health insurance activities in the state. This initiative is commendable as it is about the largest among the states in Nigeria. Not only that, it is an opportunity for residents to enjoy the long awaited free health care in the state.

THE affordable Contributory Health plans include; Abiyamo Maternal and Child Health Insurance Scheme (AMCHIS), Sunshine Health Insurance Scheme (SUNSHIS), Orange Health Insurance Scheme (ORANGHIS), Student Health Insurance Scheme (STUDHIS) and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund Programme (BHCPFP) out of which three (AMCHIS, ORANGHIS and BHCPFP) have taken off in the state.

WITH these products in place, residents are guaranteed financial access to quality health care services, low cost medical bills across all ages and equitable distribution of healthcare costs among others. AMCHIS is suitable for pregnant women and under five children and fully funded by government. So far, it has recorded over 24, 250 beneficiaries including 8, 129 deliveries, 2,015 Caesarean Sections, 191 twins and five quadruplets. It’s the only criterion is, the presentation of state residency card known as ‘kaadiigbeayo’ and beneficiaries enjoy antenatal care, deliveries including Caesarean Sections, up to six weeks post natal care for mothers after delivery, neonatal care (first 30 days of baby’s life), treatment of common illness in children, management of cervical incompetence in pregnancy and Anti – D injection for rhesus negative mothers.

ORANGHIS which was inaugurated on September 27, 2022, is suitable for both civil servants and political office holders with the premium being paid by both government (60 percent) and enrollee (40 percent) from deductions from salaries till retirement or disengagement. It covers medical services, surgical services, pediatric services, obstetrics and gynecology, dental services, eye services and some rehabilitation services.

BHCPFP is designed for people with special interest and it is jointly funded by both federal and state governments. The beneficiaries must be  captured on the state social register which is generated from the state sponsored target. It covers medical services, under five children services (neonatal care and common childhood illnesses), screening for hypertension and diabetes mellitus and treatment of malaria fever. SUNSHIS is a package for those in the informal or organised private sector while STUDHIS is an insurance for students schooling in the state. Government is also putting in place measures to ensure insurance package for retirees.

THE HOPE lauds government for attaining this feat. It, however, calls on government to make haste at ensuring that other residents not captured in the already established net (package) is brought on board to enjoy free healthcare just like others. In as much as government has played its role in ensuring that it puts an end to pocket payment for health, stakeholders must do the needful in ensuring that the packages fulfill their purposes. Residents must key into the scheme to secure not only their future, but  that of their children.

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