Only 1% of Nigerians have valid health insurance coverage. This is not hard to believe because health insurance comes at a price. It is not cheap. In developing countries such as Nigeria, going without coverage can be quite tempting. For several reasons.
Where over half of the population live below the poverty line, the emphasis on survival quickly clouds the need to live, look and feel healthy.
More so, the income bracket of most Nigerians leaves almost nothing to spare after spending on food and paying the bills. For many young Nigerians who seem to have no history with ailments, the temptation is more.
This explains why most people within the age bracket of the 20s and early 30s often feel healthy enough to let insurance slide. There is also an element of religion. Most Nigerians prefer to boast of not visiting the hospital or taking medication than gush over how their health insurance paid off in times of emergency.
The truth is if you watch over your health and you take proper care of yourself, there is no obvious reason to need insurance. Obvious.
However, a simple fall off a speeding motorbike, missing one step in a staircase at work and tumbling your way down or ignoring a bad tooth can lead you down a shocking path; costing you thousands of Naira in medical bills.
Perhaps you are well stocked up and can foot your medical bills without batting an eyelid. However, there is only so much out-of-pocket payments the average Nigerian can comfortably afford. In serious medical emergencies such as an accident or a transplant requiring millions of naira, we are left to rally for funds at the last minute.
Social media is replete with fundraising campaigns to save a dying person from organ failure. Normally, there should be existing structures in the health system to hedge Nigerians against footing medical emergencies entirely from their pockets. But this is not the case.
This is why health insurance is essential for everyone. Emergencies are real. And the best time to prepare for them is before, not during.
Why you need health insurance
- To contain ailments that emerge with age, lifestyle and environment.
- To keep you and your family safe.
- To hedge you and your family against medical inflation.
- To protect your hard-earned savings from an emergency.
- Buying insurance early in life gives you a comprehensive advantage.
That said, how do you know the right health insurance plan to choose. Most insurance companies provide their customers with some heads up before they purchase insurance. But it’s not a bad idea to be informed too. To determine what insurance plan works best for you, ask yourself these 5 questions.
How is my current health?
Do you have an existing medical condition? Or are you currently in good health? How often do you visit a doctor? Does your work require any risky activities? How often do you travel? How do you travel? These questions are important because your health insurance requirements are based on your level of risk.
How often do I visit a doctor?
Look back on the past 12 months. How many times have you visited a doctor? What did you go for? Did it involve lab tests, urgent issues and were you given prescription drugs? How much did you spend? These will give you a realistic idea of your healthcare needs in a calendar year.
What options are available to me?
Most Nigerians get health insurance through their employer. In 2019, employers, on average, paid 82% of insurance for single coverage and 70% for family coverage. If you are employed, consider getting a cost-effective coverage through your employer. You can also leverage group insurance programs through memberships. If you are self-employed, find out what insurance coverage you can afford. And don’t be tempted to go for the cheapest. Lafiami offers a wide range of insurance plans.
What are my current priorities?
What are you hedging against? This is a corollary to the second question. If you go for medical examinations more often, then you might consider an insurance package with lesser deductibles and copays.
Have I spoken with an expert?
Picking a suitable insurance package can be confusing. No matter how much reading you do online, you need to consult an expert. Lafiami offers several health insurances plans and we can walk you through finding a befitting plan. You can reach out to our representatives here.
Hopping on a suitable health insurance plan early has several benefits. Young people who are often perceived to be healthier enjoy lower rates and more extensive coverage options with numerous benefits that last till old age.