National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA)-News Release

National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA)

News Release

*The New NHIA ACT: Universal Health Coverage On The Horizon*

The Management and Staff of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) thank the President and Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari for signing into law the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Act.

The Management is also indebted to the Senate and the House of Representatives especially the Committees on Health for their invaluable roles in the lead up to the enactment of the law. Also worthy of mention is the part played by the Minister of Health, his state counterpart as well as the Federal ministry of Health during the course of the legislative work on the law.

For over two decades, industry professionals had sustained the call for amendment to the health insurance law, being a major impediment to the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

By this development, efforts to tackle high incidence of poverty caused by out-of-pocket expenses for health care, through health insurance for all categories of Nigerians by 2030 is now more realisable than ever before.

It worthy to note that the Act establishes and empowers the NHIA to ensure provision of health insurance for *all Nigerians* through a mandatory mechanism, in collaboration with state health insurance agencies.

Specifically, Sections 25 and 26 of the Act establish the Vulnerable Group Fund (VGF), indicating the various sources from which funding would be drawn.

Furthermore, the legislation strengthens the NHIA to discharge a wide range of regulatory and promotion functions to ultimately ensure that every Nigerian receives access to quality and affordable health care.

In relation to the Act, the NHIA wishes to state clearly that the legislation that Mr President assented to DOES NOT make provision for a telecoms tax as a source of funding in the law contrary to hasty reports in some exuberant national media.

In any event, while the NHIA understands the excitement around the new law, it craves the patience of stakeholders and industry watchers including the media to wait for a formal unveiling of the document in days ahead.

Emmanuel Ononokpono