Among the participants, who are all between 18–45, about 66% have health insurance coverage while 33.3% do not. Among those who have, 100% secured their health coverage through their workplace contract. Majority of the participants (88.9%) confirmed that they are aware of health insurance schemes and have been engaged by certain brands and 11.1% claim otherwise.
Among those who do not have health insurance, 37% confirmed that they are interested in getting one, 50% say maybe while 12.5% explained that they are not interested in accessing health insurance.
A previous study published in The Lancet, a medical journal, noted that more than 90% of Nigerians population are uninsured, despite the NHIS that was established in 2006. Less than 5% of Nigerians in the formal sector are covered by the NHIS. Only 3% of people in the informal sector are covered by voluntary private health insurance while uninsured patients are at the mercy of a non-performing health system. More than 170 million Nigerians are still paying out-of-pocket to access medical services, forcing households and individuals to incur catastrophic health expenditure.
“Apart from the evidence of maladministration and bureaucratic incompetence affecting the NHIS, the scheme has been largely dominated by federal employees so far,” said an expert. “The demand is also low because so many Nigerians are not aware of the scheme, and people who are worried about getting stuck with the drama that comes with everything involving the government. Experts have called for the government to make healthcare coverage mandatory in the country, but HMOs, hospitals, and other stakeholders have to execute the task of engaging those who are uninformed, especially those with limited education, live below the poverty line and occupy many rural communities”.
Interestingly, a different NOIPoll already ascertained the willingness of Nigerians who pay out-of-pocket to pay premium monthly or annually in order to access healthcare services, especially during emergencies. During the course of the poll, it explained that some respondents made on the spot inquiries on how to enroll on a health insurance scheme. These clearly demonstrate the critical need for sensitization and awareness campaigns to mobilize the citizenry on the need and benefits of health insurance.
The prevalence of religious and spiritual health centers, which are different from missionary hospitals, has also affected healthcare delivery. With the government hospitals losing their appeal due to negligence, the patronage of this form of healthcare cuts across all spectrums of socioeconomic status. These health providers may constitute a tiny minority, their influence is increasing, nevertheless, and they are attracting people from all cadres of the social strata. In addition, 13% of Nigerians also prefer to self-medicate, sometimes ignoring the seriousness of certain ailment until it is too late.
Universal health coverage, which entails providing effective access — including financial risk protection — to at least essential healthcare, is key to achieving the world’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Spurred by these goals, momentum towards Universal Healthcare is improving and growing.