By Chioma Ndife
The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, on Pension and Health Insurance matters Mr. Dozie Okpalaugo has called on owners of various hospitals and clinics within the State to key into the State Health Insurance scheme or stand the risk of losing their patients to hospitals operating under the scheme.
Okpalaugo who spoke to Fides at the Launch of Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA) on Friday, September 14, 2018 at Hollywood Event Centre, said that the minimum fee to be charged by hospitals partnering with ASHIA would force most patients to migrate to such hospitals as they would operate ASHIA at the Premium cost of 12,000 per annum. He encouraged participants of the scheme to choose hospitals that are very close to where they live and enjoined them to ensure that their primary health provider was accredited.
He noted that the State health Insurance Scheme established by Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme law 2016 has the mandate to ensure that every resident of the state has access to quality, affordable and improved healthcare services for adequate and equitable distribution of health facilities within the state.
He maintained that following the passage of the bill into law by the State House of Assembly, every hospital in the state was expected to get on the scheme, register and be accredited, saying that hospitals not captured in the scheme wouldn't be getting clients from the agency.
He said that the agency would only refer patients to accredited hospitals and urged hospitals within the state to comply with the directives in order to prevent being kicked out of business.
He noted that the launch of the program was borne out of the Governor's love for Ndi Anambra and his drive to put smiles on the faces of indigent people in Anambra State. He described the health insurance scheme as a poll of resources to make health services affordable and accessible to all, irrespective of one's income. He said that with the health insurance scheme, qualitative health care services was assured for its residents and indigenes.
The Governor's aide, who noted that the health Insurance scheme is a provision of a defined set of health care services for Ndi Anambra at an affordable cost, encouraged residents of the state especially those at hinterlands to enroll in the scheme and pay their premium which will be as low as thirty Naira per day, stating that those who will embrace it will have access to medical doctors and adequate facilities.
He explained that the scheme would help people, who ordinarily could not access quality health care due to paucity of funds, adding that liaison office would be in the twenty-one Local Government Areas of the State where people can go and obtain their health insurance cards and have access to accredited hospitals of their choice.
Okpalaugo pointed out that the necessary tools needed for smooth running of the scheme had been put in place to address health challenges in the state in order to make health services affordable and accessible.
He disclosed that malaria, dental problems, typhoid fever, eye problems among others illnesses would be treated under the scheme and stressed on the benefits to be derived from being part of the scheme.
He said that because the poverty level of the state was at its lowest ebb when compared to other states in the nation, most individuals and communities can afford to buy the premium for indigent indigenes of their community. He said that the program will take everyone into consideration and opined that a healthy state has the ability of achieving giant strides in various sectors of the economy.