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NHIA Hikes Healthcare Costs: What It Means for Nigerians

NHIA Hikes Healthcare Costs: What It Means for Nigerians

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has announced a significant increase in healthcare costs, with capitation rising by 60% and Fee-For-Service (FFS) fees increasing by 40%.

The announcement was made during a critical stakeholders’ meeting on the new tariffs held on Wednesday in Abuja, aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the health insurance scheme and improving service delivery.

Dr. Kelechi Ohiri, Director General of NHIA, emphasized that providing affordable and quality healthcare remains the authority’s top priority. “The NHIA cited several reasons for the adjustments. Primarily, the rising cost of healthcare delivery and the need to maintain quality care provided to beneficiaries have driven this decision,” Ohiri explained.

The capitation system, which involves a fixed amount of money per patient paid in advance for a defined period, has seen a substantial increase. “This is intended to provide healthcare providers with more resources to manage patient care effectively,” Ohiri added.

He highlighted that healthcare providers are expected to benefit from the increased funding, enabling them to offer better services and reduce the financial strain caused by rising operational costs. However, Ohiri acknowledged that the fee hikes might impose a higher financial burden on patients and employers contributing to the health insurance scheme.

“NHIA does not take its stakeholders for granted. We always appreciate their collaboration within the context of achieving the goal of Universal Health Coverage,” he assured.

Dr. Aminu Magashi, Coordinator of the Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN) and a health economist, noted that the announcement marked a significant shift in the cost structure of health insurance in Nigeria. While the changes aim to improve healthcare services, Magashi stressed the challenge of balancing affordability with quality care. He called on NHIA to monitor the impact of these changes and make further adjustments as necessary.

“NHA should ensure that these increases are vital for maintaining a robust healthcare system that can meet the needs of the population,” Magashi stated.

Some Nigerians who spoke with newsmen appreciated the necessity of the increase to ensure continued access to quality healthcare. However, others expressed concern about the potential financial strain on families and businesses.

The meeting included representatives from the Association of Private Medical Practitioners, Health Maintenance Organisations, Guild of Medical Directors, and other key players.

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