By Muhammad Auwal
The Senate has ordered the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to direct all Health Maintenance Organisations (HMO) to settle all outstanding debts owed to all healthcare providers within three months.
The order followed a motion on the urgent need to make the NHIS work for all Nigerians.
The motion was sponsored by Senator Oloreigbe Ibrahim and others. He said the NHIS was established to ensure access to quality and affordable health but failed in its mandate.
He said available information had indicated that a little above six million enrollees had so far been captured in the scheme.
Senator Ibrahim said in spite of the provision of regular budgetary allocations and releases, the scheme had fallen short of its objectives.
He said that the dysfunction of the organisation had resulted to various complaints of dissatisfaction by healthcare providers and beneficiaries of the scheme.
Oloriegbe listed the complaints to include the purchase of drugs outside of the hospital under the guise of either the drug being out of stock or not covered.
He also faulted the failure to review fees and charges paid to NHIS, saying that it didn’t meet the current economic realities in the country among other complaints.
He called on the Senate to join hands to ensure proper action was taken for the effective working of the scheme.
Contributing to the motion, Senator Ewkrudjakpo Lawrence urged NHIS to implement a community-based health insurance scheme for Nigerians in the informal sector.
He said many Nigerians in the informal sector were not benefiting from the scheme, hence the need to expand the coverage to the informal sector.
Commenting on the passed motion, Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, said the Senate would mandate the Health Committee, when constituted to further look into the activities of the scheme.