NGO Urges FG to Expand Health Insurance for Senior Citizens

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Save Our Heritage Initiative (SOHI), an NGO has urged the Federal Government to expand the National Health Insurance, to cover persons above 70 in the country.

Ms. May Ikokwu, Chief Executive Officer of the group made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.

Ikokwu who is also the Secretary-General, Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN), said this would enhance financial protection for the poor and the vulnerable.

She said that there were thousands of older persons who have died as a result of out-of-pocket health expenditure.

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“There are many older persons who are not government retirees but stranded and abandoned without access to healthcare because of lack of money.

“So expanding the insurance to them will go a long way to saving lives especially the poor and rural dwellers,” she said.

She commended the federal government for implementing the scheme with the Nigerian Police Force retirees, adding that including all was in tune with universal health coverage.

Ikokwu emphasized on prioritizing the health of older persons by any government, saying that senior citizens deserved more protection and care.

NAN reports that the NHIS is a combination of both compulsory and voluntary contributory health insurance schemes targeted at formal sector workers as well as informal sector workers.

It aims to ensure access to quality health care services, provide financial risk protection, reduce rising costs of health care services, and ensure efficiency in health care.

Although formally established in 1999, Nigeria launched the NHIS in 2005 after several attempts at introducing legislation on health insurance, since the 1960s.

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