KNOWLEDGE AWARENESS AND BENEFITS OF NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE SCHEME AMONG CIVIL
SERVANT IN UYO LGA
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Ever since Emperor Otto Von Bismarck of Germany enacted the mandatory legislation on the “sickness funds” for working Germans in 1883, different models of health insurance have continued to evolve worldwide albeit with the same general insurance principles. In the developed world, insurance in one form or the other is a veritable and sustainable tool for financing healthcare. The National Health Insurance (NHIS) was launched in Nigerian on October 15, 1997 and
was passed into law in May 1999. The original scheme has been modified to include healthcare for less privileged persons in the country (FMH, 1998). According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2005, Nigeria was ranked 197th out of 2000 nations; life expectancy was put at 48 years for male and 50 years for female while healthy life expectancy (HALE) for both sexes was put at 42 years. Nigeria accounts for 10% of global maternal mortality with 59,000 women dying annually from pregnancy and child birth; only 39% are delivered by skilled health professionals. In order to provide equitable distribution of health, the NHIS was introduced in Nigeria. The need for the establishment of the scheme was informed by the general poor state of the nation’s healthcare services, excessive dependence and pressure on the government’s provision of health facilities, dwindling funding of health care in the face of rising cost, poor integration of private health facilities in the nation’s healthcare delivery system and overwhelming dependence on out – of – pocket expenses to purchase health. Like any other insurance scheme, the premium for the NHIS is the amount charged by the insurance compared with the promise to pay for any eventual “covered medical treatment” for the designated “coverage”. Consequently health insurance makes it possible to substitute a small but certain cost for a larger but uncertain loss (chain) under an arrangement in which the healthy majority compensate for the risks and costs of the unfortunate ill minority.