The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) state coordinator, Oche Otalu has bemoaned the low health insurance status of Benue state, stating that out of the 5 million people of the state, only about 85,000 have health insurance.
Otalu, who made this known when he led other officials on an advocacy visit to the Benue state Governor, Samuel Ortom, blamed it on the low awareness of the benefits of NHIS programmes in the state.
The NHIS coordinator, in an address, appealed to Governor Ortom to provide the needed logistic support to the State House of Assembly to carry out public hearings on the Benue State Health Insurance Agency, stating that establishment of the agency would facilitate affordable healthcare for the state by reducing poor health outcomes.
“This would reduce the incidence of catastrophic expenditure, poverty and improved productivity; create employment and provide protection from health risks, financial protection and safety for the families.
Otalu disclosed that the State has the capacity to attract at least N3.8billion per month if the agency is established, adding that now only a paltry N48million comes to the state every month from the NHIS.
According to him, the National Health Insurance Scheme is a social security system that is meant to guarantee the provision of needed health services to persons on the payment of token contributions at regular intervals.
Responding, governor Ortom promised support for the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), in the state, promising to do all that is required to facilitate the passage
of the State Health Insurance Agency bill, which according to him, will enable the state benefit from the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund and other National Health Insurance Scheme interventions.