The word “insurance” still sounds alien in the Nigerian context. Sure, there are some big insurance companies in the country, but there are so many people who have not heard of these companies or what they do. Many people do not even know why they need insurance. Although these days, there seems to be a change as more and more people are now becoming aware of what insurance is, and some are even taking one insurance coverage or the other, particularly health insurance.
If you are like such people and would like to get insurance, there are a few things you need to know, some of which we would explore in this article.
What Is Health Insurance?
A simple way of defining health insurance is paying money to a company so that they pay you compensation if something happens. There are two parties to insurance; you, the insured, and the company, the insurer. You pay an amount of money every month (premium) or according to the arrangement for protection against a certain event, like ill health or a car accident. If you ever get involved in an accident, the company would pay for the damages. This means the money for fixing the car or treating you for injuries would not come from your pocket.
There are so many types of insurance, including auto insurance (covers cars), health insurance (covers your general health), home insurance (covers the home), and more. The kind of insurance you chose depends on what you need cover or protection for. Health insurance in Nigeria is not particularly popular. Since the Nigeria’s National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was launched in 2005, only 5% of Nigerians have health insurance and 70% still finance their healthcare through Out-Of-Pocket (OOP) expenses.
Nevertheless, getting a health insurance is imperative for all Nigerians. Here are some reasons why you need health insurance:
- Insurance reduces the cost of unplanned medical bills
- To protect your savings
- It can help you to live a healthier life.
Before you get health insurance in Nigeria, there are a few things you have to keep in mind.
1. The Company
In Nigeria, people rely on private companies to provide them with insurance as there is almost nothing from the state. The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) exists but its coverage is limited. The Nigerian insurance scene is not saturated, but there are a few reputable companies that provide health insurance. You have to decide on the company you want to choose from. Check out their various packages and offers, as well as their premium and deductible before choosing one. Make sure you are intentional about the company you choose.
2. Premium and Deductible
One thing you have to keep in mind before choosing a company is the fee you would pay. This is known as a premium, and you pay it regularly, usually monthly. The premium is always set by the company, usually based on the kind of cover you want and what you are insuring. The deductible is the percentage or amount of money you would pay before your insurer puts in their own money. For example, if the deductible on your health insurance is ₦50,000 and you get involved in a car accident where the surgery costs ₦200,000, you will have to pay ₦50,000 from your pocket while your insurer would pay the remaining ₦150,000. Generally, the rule is the lower your premium, the higher your deductible. That is why you have to ask your insurance company questions about this.
Some insurance companies provide health insurance in conjunction with their partners, which are usually hospitals. So, you would have to visit that particular hospital for the insurance company to step in and pay their share of the bill. This is not an arrangement that suits everyone. What if the hospital is very far away from you? This may also favour you. To be sure, make sure you ask the insurer before choosing them.
Also, you have to find out what the policy covers. Some policies only cover treatment for some basic illnesses, while some others could cover surgery and more intense treatment procedures. It is important to find out what the policy would cover before choosing it to be sure you are not making a mistake.
5. Claims Process
Claims process in health insurance means the steps for the insurance company to receive, investigate and act on a claim filed by an insured. The easier the claims process and the faster the settlement of the claims, the better it is for the insured. Therefore, these two are major things to consider when it comes to the selection of health insurance coverage in Nigeria. Good customer support is another factor one should look for. Read customer reviews about the insurance company before deciding to sign up with them.