The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) says it will raise a bilateral committee to fine-tune the protocol of enrolling 237,000 pensioners under Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) for health insurance.
The NHIA Deputy General Manager, Emmanuel Ononokpono, made this known in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, adding that
the Director-General of NHIA, Prof. Mohammed Sambo, disclosed this when Dr Chioma Ejikeme, Executive Secretary of PTAD paid him a courtesy visit.
He quoted Sambo as saying “the authority has put in motion, the process leading up to extending health insurance to pensioners.
“Extending health insurance to pensioners is consistent with best practices around the world.”
According to him, the most effective care for aging persons is to give them adequate access to affordable and quality healthcare.
The authority boss said that health insurance coverage for pensioners is a critical aspect of attaining Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
He added that government is favourably disposed to ensuring that persons who served the country with better part of their lives
should have access to care without further financial burden.
On the issue of how the initiative would be funded, Sambo said that healthcare must be paid for because it is impossible for it to be free.
He said that support of relevant government agencies would be required to achieve sustainable financing.
According to him, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the Department of State Services (DSS) are already paying for healthcare coverage of their retirees.
“Funding healthcare for pensioners is critical to institutionalising the initiative and making it enduring,” he stressed.
Sambo also said that the authority is in a position to start the process of coverage of pensioners through an internal budgetary provision.
Ejikeme, who highlighted the plight of pensioners around the country, added that the law setting up PTAD gave leverage to the agency
to explore ways of improving the welfare of pensioners.
She said that promoting the welfare of pensioners is central to the operations of the agency.
According to her, PTAD has worked to ensure a transparent and accountable system for retirees.
She said that an ICT-driven system codenamed — “I am Alive” Confirmation Solution” enabled a verification process
that cleaned up the database by removing fictitious pensioners, maintaining that PTAD has developed the most reliable data