NHIS introduces voluntary health insurance for self employed, small businesses

Self employed Nigerians and small business owners with less than ten staff can now access subsidized quality health care under the voluntary contributors social health insurance programme launched by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

At the media launch in Lagos at the weekend, the acting Executive Secretary, NHIS, Mr. Abdulrahman Sambo, said the scheme will commence in Lagos, but will eventually spread to other parts of the country.  He said Lagos was chosen for the commencement of the scheme because of its strategic importance in the economic life of Nigeria.

The voluntary contributors social health insurance programme (VCSHIP) is a prepayment arrangement where contributors would pay an annual premium of N15,000, adding that it will guarantee them access to health care in any NHIS registered hospital across Nigeria. According to Mr. Sambo, the scheme only covers the contributor without other beneficiaries ,but allows him or her access same quality health care with those under the regular health insurance scheme.

Those to benefit he said include artisans, entertainers, media professionals, students, retirees not covered by the NHIS programme, political office holders, foreigners and other informal sector players.  Sambo said to make the process easier, interested persons who wouldn’t want to visit NHIS offices for registration can purchase the voluntary contributors vouchers from the 11 participating health management organisations and register online.

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