By Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Federal Government, on Thursday, expanded the health insurance system with the launch of a new health insurance package, Group, Individual and Family Social Health Insurance Programme (GIFSHIP).
Government said the new insurance product, GIFSHIP, will be implemented by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in addition to other insurance packages being run by the Scheme.
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who launched the new insurance package in Abuja, on Thursday, said the new insurance product is the outcome of wide-ranging and far-reaching reforms within NHIS to significantly increase the fiscal space for healthcare services.
He explained that the new product, expectedly, will addresses the challenges and barriers encountered during implementation of other insurance packages both by the beneficiaries and operators.
“It will also eliminate known difficulties, as it creates additional value by expanding and upgrading other insurance packages for better reach, service quality and user experience,” the Minister said.
He said the major objective of GIFSHIP is to rapidly expand the scope of healthcare coverage in an urgent quest to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC) which Nigeria is determined not to leave anyone behind.
He said: “GIFSHIP offers Nigerians opportunity to participate and benefit from the health insurance system. There’s opportunity for affordable individual enrolment, family unit or a group of people. Any of the enrolments can also be sponsored by well-meaning individuals, Trusts, or organizations.”
Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. Mohammed Nasir Sambo, in his welcome remarks, explained that the new product has 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.
He said the GIFSHIP will leverage on the comprehensive e-NHIS framework which has been on the drawing board for more than a decade, and which was recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), to be deployed in few months to come.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, in his remarks, promised legislative support to the activities of NHIS, to ensure that more people are brought into the insurance scheme.
He also promised to mobilize his colleagues at the National Assembly to ensure that their constituents are enrolled in the scheme as part of the constitutency programmes.