Legal Practitioners across the country may soon have unqualified access to medical attention, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has said.
The Executive Secretary of the NHIS, Mohammed Sambo, said on Wednesday in Abuja that the agency is currency in talks with the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on the possibility of a collaboration on the issue.
Mr Sambo disclosed this when the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Apata visited him in Abuja on Wednesday,
He said the NBA and NHIS have agreed to work out modalities that would make it possible for lawyers in the country to be receiving healthcare insurance coverage under the Scheme.
The NHIS boss who underscored the imperatives of the two agencies working together said partnering with the association held prospects of going beyond the enrolment of lawyers to members serving as opinion moulders for the scheme.
Highlighting the Scheme’s commitment to provide insurance cover for every Nigerian, the health insurance boss said he was optimistic that steps taken by the NBA would inspire other professional bodies to consider similar initiative.
He observed that the e-NHIS platform recently approved by the Executive Council of the Federation (FEC) would, when it comes on stream, put the Scheme’s business processes on the cutting edge of technology.
The scheme, which was in cooperation with international partners, was initiated to build capacity of staff of the Scheme.
To speed up the process of achieving the objectives of the collaboration, the Scheme has raised a committee to liaise with the legal body.
Earlier, in his remarks, Mr. Apata who led a three-man delegation on the visit to the health financing agency expressed the confidence that the partnership between both organizations would yield better quality of life for members of the association.
He noted that health insurance remained the best option for individuals and groups seeking ways to avoid paying out-of-pocket for healthcare services.
Although Mr Akpata said the NBA already had life insurance policy whereby relations of its members received specified sum of money at their death, there was the need for health insurance to ensure good quality of life for members of the association.
Recalling his personal experience of the benefit of health insurance when he was in need of medical attention, Mr Apata emphasized the necessity for lawyers to have health insurance due to the stressful nature of their work,
‘’if I did not have medical insurance, I would have paid so much for my healthcare when I was in dire need. That is the reason I made the provision of health insurance cover one of my campaign promises when I was seeking members mandate for this office,” he said.
On the significance of number as a factor for coverage of groups, Mr Akpata said the NBA has about 100,000 members nationwide, a number he considered significant enough to warrant healthcare coverage.