Nigeria: mandatory health insurance

Health insurance will now become mandatory for all Nigerian citizens as President Buhari signs new law. There is no timetable, but when complete it could mean fewer Nigerians will need to travel abroad for medical care. Cover is, however, basic so the middle classes will still have the option of private healthcare at home or abroad.

The National Health Insurance Authority Act 2022 makes enrolment in national health insurance compulsory. The National Health Insurance Scheme Act 2004 is repealed, so the existing National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) will be replaced.

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) will run a vulnerable group fund to ensure cover for 83 million poor Nigerians who cannot afford to pay premiums.

Most people covered by the current scheme work for the state or companies, so those in the informal sector are not covered.

The NHIA will collaborate with state government health insurance schemes to accredit primary and secondary health facilities and enrol all Nigerians into the scheme by 2030.

Currently each state insurance agency and state insurance schemes continue to operate independently.

NHIA regulates all national and state schemes, but it is still not clear if it will replace all state health insurance schemes.