How to Get Health Insurance in Nigeria – the Easy Guide

If you’re planning to get health insurance in Nigeria but need someone to guide you through the process, then this blog post is for you. 

You’ll learn different types of Health insurance available in the country, the requirements, and why you need to get health insurance for yourself and family members in Nigeria. NOTE: I’m not a health specialist, this blog post is an outcome of my research and my way of promoting helpful information.

Before going into the details, let me brief the meaning of the term “insurance”;

What is Insurance?

Insurance is a means of indemnity against a future occurrence of an uncertain event or risk. According to Wikipedia, Indemnity is a contractual obligation of one party to compensate for the loss incurred on another party.

This is the general definition for all types of insurance, which health insurance falls into. I’ll be reviewing health insurance in Nigeria, how it has fared, different types, and many more. 

But you may want to know;

How is Health Insurance in Nigeria?

Sadly, only a little percentage of the Nigerian population has their health insured, this shows how concerned we are about our health care generally in the country. We’re not sure about the reason for apathy or lack of interest in health insurance in the country.

But I hope after reading this, you’d have got yourself one if you don’t have one already. 

Is Getting Health Insurance in Nigeria Expensive?

Not at all, getting health insurance is not expensive in Nigeria – in fact, the Nigerian government launched a program in May 1999 to cater to this need. The federal government agency responsible for health insurance in Nigeria, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) caters for citizens especially those in the public sectors, private sectors, and entrepreneurs. 

The NHIS also supports children below age 5, inmates, and people living with disabilities.

How Much Does Health Insurance Cost in Nigeria?

The cost varies according to the plan you’re buying. But typically, you can get a Health Insurance in Nigeria for as low as N3,500 – N4,500 per month. For Instance, you get a personal plan for N45,000 0r N55,000 annually and this is different (much cheaper) if you’re buying for your family or staff. 

I will explain more about this plan and pricing before I round up.

Why Should I Get Health Insurance in Nigeria?

Health care in Nigeria is a major concern for many, although some do lack interest. It’s important we do all the best we can to safeguard ourselves – health-wise. With a good health insurance plan in Nigeria, you could start now to prepare for future uncertainties as to the definition earlier suggests. There are a lot of insurance firms offering this form of insurance in the country.

Here are other few reasons why you should get your health insured;

The benefit of Health Insurance

Health insurance comes with some good benefits that make our lives much better overall. These are some of the benefits;

1. Cuts down on health risks

There are so many health-related risks that we Nigerians get exposed to, they may be through birth, airborne, waterborne, pollution, and many more. A good health insurance plan offers you regular check-ups that could spot and prevent any form of health-related problem.

2. Access to Finance

This could be a lifesaver in terms of emergency where some funds are required to kickstart a treatment. With money offered by the different Health Insurance firms in Nigeria, you could finance any form of treatment – at least to an extent. Some HMOs grant you up to N250,000 for surgeries, any additional fee above that will have to be paid by you.

3. Family Protection

One other good benefit of having an insurance plan is an overall healthy-looking family. A healthy family is a happy family, and nobody wouldn’t want to have that. Getting a family plan today will lead to a much healthier family and also protects all involved against unforeseen health hazards.

4. Increases Savings

Purchasing a plan from any of the HMO’s cut down on your medical expenses. In the long run, you get to save a lot of money which can be channeled towards other areas of your life. Continuing this will save you a lot of money.

Getting health insurance is a wonderful opportunity right? You could begin enjoying the benefits if you choose to start today. You need to check if you’re qualified or not. Below are a few requirements expected from anybody who wants to get health insurance in Nigeria;

Requirements for Getting Health Insurance in Nigeria

Before going ahead to apply for that health plan, here are some requirements to have in mind;

1. Citizen or Non-citizen

Before getting a Health Insurance plan in Nigeria you have to be a citizen of the country – by birth, naturalization, or any other means. As all countries place the health of its citizens above non-citizens. This gives you access to all forms of health insurance especially that provided by the federal government. 

If you’re not a citizen, don’t worry, Private HMO’s do offer plans for non-citizens as well and you can still enjoy the same benefit.

2. Must Fall Into Any of The Following:

  • Public Sector – You must be employed in any government-owned institution.
  • Private Sector – Must be an employee of a registered private firm operating within the country
  • Informal Sector – Running a business which doesn’t fall into any of the above categories with complete tax payments
  • Student – A student in the country across all levels
  • Children – This is usually below the age of five (5)
  • Inmates – Inmates also have access to health insurance plans from any HMO.

With the above, you can see how easy getting a health insurance plan can be.

There are lots of private firms which offer more better insurance services, but let talk about getting started;

How to Apply and Get a Health Insurance in Nigeria

This is where everyone tends to get stuck – getting that health insurance plan. Many believe it’s more like a tedious task, but I can guarantee you it’s not. You probably don’t know how simplified the whole process is, but don’t worry, I’ll try my best to explain.

There are various HMO’s (Health Management Organizations) offering this service out there, each with varying degrees of offers and pricing. You need to choose one which will be pretty favorable to you, or you could simply apply for the NHIS program. Whichever you choose, they certainly provide similar services in a different kind of way, and registration is also quite similar. 

Now, let talk get started;

1. Visit NHIS or the HMO Website

Whichever platform you tend to go for, public or private, your first step towards registration is via this process. Most certainly, they all have a physical office(s), and since we’re in a digital era, a website too. You’re to visit any of those to start your registration process so as to equip yourself with a good health insurance plan. 

For the NHIS website, go to www.nhis.gov.ng or https://www.nhisonline.com.ng/

If you prefer to use a private health insurance firm, you can check these top ten insurance companies and visit their website.

After getting to the website, ensure you check the required documents, plans, and pricing, etc., this will give you the best orientation, or maybe you should continue with the agency or not.

2. Fill out All Required Documents

You’ll be offered documents/forms to fill out upon registration, either online or offline. You are to fill out the form with the required information needed. You’d be asked many health-related and personal questions, do ensure that you answer as correctly (and honestly) as possible, and give details where necessary. 

Try to use correct/official information, remember, it’s all about protecting against uncertainties that may occur to you health-wise. Also, do ensure to ask questions when you’re confused or in doubt, and read the terms of service clearly so as to understand what you’re signing up for.

3. Pay the Required Fee(s)

You’ll be required to pay some fee(s) or “premium” in order to complete the registration process. This fee is the amount of money paid to purchase the plan and it’s important to pay so as to complete your registration. The prices differ across various HMO’s, but I’ll be giving you what to expect in terms of pricing below.

Before getting there, let’s see the various types of health insurance Providers in Nigeria;

   Types of Health Insurance Providers in Nigeria

There are quite a number of health insurance types in the country to choose from, you might be familiar with some already, so let’s get started.

1. Health Management Organization (HMO)

HMO gets you more for less and it is suitable for everyone especially newbies. You get a wide range of services including immunization and regular check-ups – these are just two of the many services you get from an HMO. 

In terms of pricing, HMO’s offer lesser prices and you get to pay much lesser premiums when placed side by side with other types of health insurance. Upon registration, you’ll have to choose a primary care physician (PCP) whose job is to see that you are healthy. He/She will also be responsible for referring you to a specialist when the need arises.

2. Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

With a PPO you have access to a wide range of doctors and hospitals to seek medical attention. Unlike HMO, you don’t have a PCP so you have a good number of choices to pick from, but it must be in the specified network agreed upon at registration. 

Going against this will leave you in no man’s land as companies offering this service wouldn’t foot the bill. For you to qualify for services rendered by PPO’s an agreed fee must be paid annually in form deductible.

3. Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO)

Another type of health insurance plan in Nigeria is the Exclusive Provider Organization plan which is quite similar to HMO. You have access to an agreed set of doctors and hospitals but in this case a much wider variety. Because of this, you may pay deductibles and copayments. The amount for premiums is also much higher with EPO.

4. Point of Service (POS)

With the point of service, you get a PSP to work with but there are no charges in the deductibles on services rendered by your PSP. POS is more like the combination of HMO and PPO, this is done in order to increase flexibility and also create a balance. You’ll also have to pay some fee in the form of deductibles before getting the required coverage.

These are some of the health insurance types, but HMOs are more prevalent in Nigeria – about 90% are HMO’s, and the rest shares the remaining 10%.

Health Insurance Plans and Prices in Nigeria

There are three basic plans offered by HMOs in the country, they vary in prices but not that much, so I’ll be giving you an idea of what it looks like.

1. Personal Plan

This is the first and the most sought after insurance plan. A personal plan covers only a specific individual. The plan may include services like; specialist consultation, surgeries (to an extent), drug prescription, eye care, physiotherapy, x-ray, and many more. Some of these services are covered to an extent so you have to pay the rest.

Price of Health Insurance Personal Plan: N45,000 – N55,000 annually

2. Family Plan

The family plan covers more people for less. The number of members in this plan varies, but it’s usually between 3 – 5 members. The coverage provided is quite similar to the individual plan but at a subsidized rate. Also, certain services are limited in number so as to accommodate the large number of members involved.

Price of Health Insurance Family Plan: N15,000 – N25,000 annually/individual

3. Corporate Plan

As the name suggests, this plan applies to all corporate organizations, small and large businesses, and enterprises. Many organizations do offer health insurance to their workers, but certain members of the organization may be excluded from this policy. 

Getting a corporate plan for your company is quite easy; you need to have a certain number of employees before applying. 

Price of Health Insurance Corporate Plan: For pricing, it varies and usually not disclosed to the general public.

That’s All On – How to Get a Health Insurance in Nigeria

Getting a health insurance plan in Nigeria helps in many ways and it’s important to have one no matter who you are. So there you have it, all you need to know about health insurance in Nigeria.

If you have any question, kindly consult your physician or medical doctor, but if you’re versatile about this health insurance issue and you notice you can help with some corrections, kindly send your contribution to info@gbolamedia.com

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