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5 Reasons Nigerians Need to Care More About Health Insurance



No matter how healthy you believe you are, or what great genes you have, you are not invincible. Epidemics happen. Accidents happen. There are a number of things that could put you health at risk, and if you are not prepared to handle them accordingly, you are in for a great deal of stress – medically and financially. To protect yourself, it helps to get health insurance.

Usually, health insurance covers essential health benefits critical to maintaining your health and treating illness and accidents. It also protects you from unexpected, high medical costs, as overwhelming medical bills are among the most common reasons why people file for bankruptcy or even resort to unsavoury means of making money.

It is no secret that a large number of Nigerians, including those in the more developed and metropolitan cities, are unaware of the benefit of insurance. According to a recent investigation carried out by The Guardian, most Lagosians (who live in the largest and most enlightened city in the country) have poor knowledge of health insurance and do not know about the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and how to get registered. The few who have health insurance are those who were registered by their employers. In fact, the average Nigerian would rather insure his assets: car, house, e.t.c than his health. While no one plans to get sick or get in any accident, there is a high change they would need medical care at some point. Health insurance covers these costs and offers many other important benefits.

For those in doubt of why they need to sign up for health insurance, we have pulled up 5 reasons:

Financial security
As earlier mentioned, high medical costs and overwhelming medical bills are among the most common reasons why people file for bankruptcy or even resort to unsavoury means of making money. If you do not have health insurance and you are diagnosed with a serious illness like cancer or diabetes or you suffer a sudden injury, you have to pay for all of your medical costs out of pocket. Health insurance helps protect you and your family from financial hardships that may result from health care expenses. And note that these serious or sudden situations can leave you with staggering medical bills.

Preventive care/ health information
A number of people who eventually die from ailments and sickness are those who were not able to detect it early or were not able to start treatment early as they either could not afford it or did not have certain information that could have helped them at the initial state. With health insurance, however, you are more likely to see your doctor before your condition worsens and becomes more expensive to treat. For instance, people who have diabetes and do not have health insurance have a higher death rate than those who have diabetes and health insurance. Health insurance allows for free health information and preventive care like vaccines, screenings, and some check-ups, even before you meet your deductibles.

Emergency or unexpected medical care
Imagine that you are called out of the blues, to be informed that someone in your family has been a car hit by a car and needs medical attention, but you do not have the required cash at hand to ensure they receive the required treatment; or you wake up one morning, discover a lump in your breast and you are diagnosed with cancer, and you  do not have the money at the moment to commence chemotherapy. What do you do? How do you handle the situation considering you never planned for such financially or it is a matter of agency and you do not have time to take a loan or sell off some stuff to raise money? Health insurance ensures you never have to face such difficulties. It is there for the unpredictable, unexpected and fundamentally uncontrollable problems that come up in our lives.  Signing up for health insurance ensures that you are able to receive medical care any time you or a family member needs it.

Flexible plans
A number of people are scared to enrol for health insurance as they assume they will not be able to afford it, but the truth is that the health insurance comes with different plans to accommodate different financial brackets. And the most beautiful thing is that the cheapest or lowest plan, which is usually very affordable, covers essential health benefits.  If, however, you want to opt for a superior health plan, some insurance plan actually allows you to qualify for financial assistance from the government – or subsidies. Whatever plan you opt for, you are assured that you have the medical services needed to keep you healthy, as well as health coverage in the case of unexpected illnesses or accidents.

It boosts productivity
Health insurance is a huge benefit for mostly business owners and company owners who have employees.  Not only those it  signal to them that you care about their well-being, it lead to higher productivity levels as healthy employees get more accomplished at work. They are not stressed or worried about their health and they even have opportunities to save the money they would have spent on medical bills. That will keep them happy and energized. In the end, health insurance will help your business grow and establish a culture of trust between employer and employee.

Photo Credit: © Alberto Jorrin Rodriguez |


  1. Halley

    January 26, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    Health insurance whereeeeee.. Ordinary car insurance you will still go there and be speaking English. Nice write up however, You must be speaking to the Nigerians in diaspora.

  2. Red

    January 26, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    Good idea. Now quick question; How many of these hospitals are willing or prepared to accept insurance? A lot of them want PROMPT payments before even looking at a patient..

  3. shining

    January 27, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    please does anyone have experience with the NHIS? I don’t know much about it and how practical it is. Does it work much the same way as health insurance in western countries? Do all hospitals/clinics accept it? Does the insurance really pay if/when they need to or does the Nigerian factor enter it? Anyone with firsthand experience using this scheme, please share as I would really like to know more. Thanks so much

    • obinna

      January 27, 2018 at 8:40 pm

      very good article by the author. I personally think we need to talk more about medical insurance! NHIS is a poorlybconstructed andbpoorly funded health insurance scheme, but it’s better than nothing. NHIS is structured around some enrolled hospitals, so that means that you access health care in a particular designated hospital. cause of it’s poor funding, several ailments have to be co-payed by both you and the NHIS. Get a private health insurance if you can. cheers

    • shining

      January 28, 2018 at 5:52 am

      thank you Obinna, please d’you know of any functional private health insurance in Nigeria? One that actually pays if/when they need to?

  4. hauwa

    January 28, 2018 at 9:40 am

    I am a strong advocate of health insurance in Nigeria. I have personally used hygeia, zenith medicare( now Venus Medicare) and NHIS. Trust me, it works. NHIS is not as robust as the others but it covers a lot of tests surgeries. You copay (10%)

  5. Yellow sun

    January 28, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    Yep… Health insurance works.. But none of them covers for any terminal illness.. Only a few surgeries. They can do better

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