-Hospitals turn back ailing officers, dependants

By Ken Azahan

Personnel of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and their dependents enrolled on the  National Health Insurance Scheme  (NHIS), are been rejected by both public and private hospitals in Nigeria over none remittance by the service despite deductions from their salaries.

TheNigerian.news exclusively gathered that the NCS has not been prompt in remitting to the NHIS since joining the scheme which was initiated to ensure a healthy wellbeing of citizens particularly those in public and private employment.

It would be recalled that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Act, Cap N42, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, enacted to provide easy gateway to healthcare for all Nigerians at an affordable cost through several prepayment systems. The main purpose of this system is to annihilate any socioeconomic barriers, which may be an obstacle to attaining access to a health service.

However, recent findings have revealed that the NCS may have abandoned the scheme thereby leaving patients under its payroll and their dependants stranded in various hospitals across the country.

A staff who was rejected at a government hospital in Abuja over non-remittance by NCS told this medium that it has not been smooth with NCS personnel who have enrolled on the scheme. It has always been one issue after another. At a point we were told that the issue was with our Health Maintenance Organisation (HMO), the Service changed the HMO but the issues have remained, the staff alleged.

NHIS Secretary Attahiru and Customs CG Hameed Ali

“Under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and the present Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali rtd. we were promised that corruption will be eliminated, it is sad that this is going on unchecked”, another staff who’s wife was rejected in a private hospital in Kaduna told our reporter.

TheNigerian.news also exclusively obtained a letter written by the National Health Insurance Scheme dated December 13th, 2017 and signed by the General Manager (standards and quality assurance) for the Ag. Executive Secretary NHIS urging hospitals to stop offering services to NCS personnel over non-remittance with effect from December 30th, 2017.

“This is to inform you that except you are otherwise informed through another former communication, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) will stop provision of health care coverage of the Nigeria Customs Service personnel effective December 31, 2017.

” This is due to the failure of the backlog of premium contributions dating back to 2008 despite several committee meetings and interactions.

“Please note that NHIS will stop the payment of capitation for personnel of Nigeria Customs Service effective December 31, 2017. The Scheme will also neither honour any request for code or settle any claim for these class of enrollees beyond this date”, the letter read in part.

Efforts to get the side of the NCS authorities failed as the Public Relations Officer of the Service, Mr. Joseph Attah declined to respond to several calls put to him at different times.

At first, he claimed there was poor connectivity with the call and letter on when the call was repeated demanded that a text message be sent to him. But more than three days after text was sent he neither replied it nor called back.