New HMCAN boss seeks more enrollees in insurance scheme
The Chairman, Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria (HMCAN), Dr. Tunde Ladele, has called on the government to advocate and ensure mandatory health insurance for its citizens.
Ladele said that within six months, if HMCAN is given the mandate, half of Nigerians could be covered with health insurance.Ladele made the call during his inauguration in Lagos. Ladele who believed he has a strong team said that he tend to make the association very strong, visible and cohesive and also to make sure they get closer to population because they are key to positive outcomes in the business.
The chairman continued: “We need to negotiate properly for the populace. They rightly feel that they are being short changed and I believe it is true. We need to get closer to the regulator that is the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). We really need to key into his vision because for now we do not really know what their plan is. We need a close contact to assist him and make sure they achieve what they want to achieve.”
Ladele added that the issue of advocacy and the issue of making the healthcare insurance mandatory could change a lot of things. Every single individual should at least have the health insurance so as to curtail the out of pocket payment.
He dismissed the issue of rivalry between the Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) and doctors and said it has been over exaggerated because greater percentages of HMO are doctors.
“There was a system in place where the average doctor, will pray for people to get sick so as to make money, but now we pray for people not to get sick so as to make money. The numbers of enrollees are too small to the providers and once providers do not have enough on their list, they cannot make ends meet. It is not a good business sense. We have done a lot of advocacy and we continue to do that,” said Ladele.
He frowned at the appropriated budget for health saying that it is far too low in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) standards. “The appropriation for health is very low but we know that there is no way the government can do because we are in recession and we are Nigerians. I feel sorry for them because they are in charge,” he said.
The chairman also said: “We have a lot of money in the NHIS, it is not used for anything, and it is not invested. This money we are talking about is from the federal government on behalf of the federal civil servants. My own HMO should be given N200 million every three months but the NHIS gives less than 70 million, all the others are kept in reserves and nobody is talking about it. It is not about accumulating money somewhere, making the parastatal one of the richest in the country and it is not achieving anything.”