MAY 7, 2019, HEALTH, NEWS
By Gabriel Olawale
NO less than 120,000 persons have enrolled for the Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme since it was launched in December 2018.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris who disclosed this said the State government is not relenting in ensuring that all residents in the State have access to quality and affordable healthcare without necessarily paying out of pocket.
Idris said: “The target for this year is to enroll one million people, but implementing health insurance scheme for over 20 million people is not an easy task, so we are not in hurry to do it so as to avoid mistakes.
“What we concentrate on mostly now is building the capacity of different agents who will take part in the Scheme such as providers who will render service, field agents, ICT providers and ensure that the facilities conform with best practices.
“Presently we have accredited 150 private facilities and 44 public facilities while some are still undergoing accreditation. We are also meeting the key stakeholder in informal sector which constituted about 60 percent of the population because if you don’t enroll those people this scheme will fail.”
Further, Idris explained that while the enrollments are ongoing, the indigent are carried along. “In Makoko, we have enrolled over 2,000 indigent people and doing the same thing in Alimosho. We have some facilities in Alimosho which have started rendering service and by June many people will have access.”
On the insinuation that the private sector should be allowed to fix its own cost, Idris said such action we deviate the essence of the Scheme, “If we allow them to fix cost so many people will not be able to afford it. When they carried out a study on the ideal cost for the scheme, it was N70,000 but government brought it down to N40,000. That informed the decision of the state government in contributing a minimum of 1 percent of consolidated revenue of the state.
“Access to finance initiative has been put in place to assist private sector in accessing loan to take care of little things so that they can meet up with standard. Corroborating his view, the General Manager of Lagos State Health Management Agency, LASHMA, Dr. Peju Adenusi said the Scheme was designed to be affordable. “N 40,000 for family of six and if you have more than four children below 18 years, N6,000 extra charge applies while for adults it is N8,500 per annual and is renewable every year.
“The Scheme is compulsory by law and once you enroll you have opportunity to choose whether you want to access service in private facilities or public facilities. If you are not satisfied with that provider, you have the right to complain to the Agency, they investigate, if you are right you can change your provider. If they investigate and find provider guilt, such provider will be sanctioned.”