The Nigerian National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), MTN, and Salt & Einstein MTS, the Mobile insurance services aggregator, recently announced a strategic partnership to launch a mobile based universal health insurance service known as Y’ello Health. This service will provide Nigerians affordable health insurance cover on a pre-paid basis.
Through the Y’ello Health, mobile subscribers are able to opt into a micro healthcare insurance scheme through Health Management Organizations (HMO’s) using their mobile phones for a range of pre-defined medical treatments for which affordable premium can also be remitted through the subscribers’ mobile phone.
The Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of NHIS, Dr. Femi Thomas, speaking on the rationale behind the new partnership said, “MTN is a large player in the Nigerian economy, having a good number of registered Nigerians on its database. To be able to reach out to Nigerians, we at NHIS decided to partner with Salt & Einstein MTS and MTN on this new initiative to achieve “Universal Health Coverage” for Nigerians nationwide.
He went further to say that, “the time has come for us to extend health insurance to Nigerians from all walks of life. With Nigeria’s population in mind, NHIS in partnership with Salt & Einstein MTS and MTN is bent on providing more efficient health care service to those who indeed cannot afford good healthcare services. This will help pull risk and share healthcare costs equitably across the population”.
According to the Chief Marketing Office, MTN Nigeria, Larry Annetts, “the focus market for the Y’ello Health Cover are Nigerians who have no health insurance cover principally because they cannot afford the regular health insurance services in the market. These individuals like everyone else, need medical care.
However,without access to insurance, they probably would be having occasional challenges paying for medical treatment, because such expenses would usually be without or at short notice. It is to take away this burden of impromptu medical expenses that we are partnering to introduce this product”. He also asserted the importance of education and sensitization of the populace about healthcare and commended the NHIS for its drive to provide universal healthcare for Nigerians.
The Executive Chairman of Salt and Einstein MTS, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, bringing his vast experience in Mobile technology and telecoms in Nigeria to the table, identified the need to leverage the market penetration and unmatched reach of mobile telecoms in Nigeria. Statics reveal that mobile telecoms subscription in Nigeria is over 120 million. This creates adequate grounds for direct health insurance provision to Nigerians who without this would have no access to the National health Insurance scheme.
According to the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Salt and Einstein MTS, the Mobile insurance services aggregator, Lai Labode: “findings, show that, Nigeria still has less than 4% of its population covered with basic health care at this time in our nation’s history. There is no disputing the fact that, one of the best things to do at this time is to come together, working with NHIS and of course, starting off with Nigeria’s leading telecommunications operator, MTN, to bring this health insurance cover to Nigerians who have been hitherto excluded from access to good health care service”.