Adeniyi: Out of pocket health expenses too costly
Mr. Tope Adeniyi, Managing Director, Axa Mansard Health Limited. In this interview with GREGORY AUSTIN NWAKUNOR, he said health insurance is less costly and takes care of emergencies.
What is the importance of health insurance?
Health is an important factor in human life, so it must be protected and planned for. One of the ways of protecting our health is to have it insured just like we insure our cars and houses. Lifesaving procedures and treatments may be needed at any time and they are usually expensive. With health insurance, access to quality healthcare is guaranteed.
How costly is health insurance?
Health insurance is designed to be affordable and cost effective. Out of pocket payment for healthcare can be far more expensive particularly when serious health issues occur. Health insurance proactively engages the enrollees to take ownership of his/her health care so that catastrophic event can be prevented or effect minimized if it occurs.
AXA Mansard Health solutions are designed straight from customers’ needs and viewpoints. And we constantly talk to customers to identify how their needs are changing.
What is the state of health management business in the face of the challenging economic clime in Nigeria?
It has been a bit difficult addressing inflation and rising cost of healthcare, as well as trying to offer affordable and cost effective solutions to Healthcare. However, in every challenging situation, there are opportunities to learn and grow. At AXA Mansard Health we have identified these opportunities and we are leveraging on our expertise to turn around what seems to be a difficult situation into new opportunities. Thus, we have provided the customers flexible products that can meet their immediate needs while helping the hospitals to manage their rising cost by adapting technology more.
AXA Mansard Health has recently launched chat with a doctor service to help customers get advice from a doctor on simple health issues.
Tell us about AXA Mansard Health Limited, the drive behind the organisation and its unique value proposition?
Customer First – we have a customer-centered culture across the organization. In everything we do, we put the customer first. We have a deep understanding and Proactive strategy around customer experience. We simply walk in their shoes. This mentally is the drive behind the organisation.
We are able to deliver excellent service to our customers with this wonderful mindset. This perspective makes us to deliver innovative products, service be it in the area of quality healthcare in Nigeria and abroad, technology driven service platform for users convenience, convenience care through home delivery of drugs for chronic disease, quick payment of claims to hospitals and to customers and flexible payment terms for SMEs
Why is it that most Nigerians do not have access to health insurance and what can be done to correct it?
Legislation, awareness, distribution and affordability of health care service are the issues.
Over 70% of Nigerians pay out of pocket at the point of access to care; out of pocket payment create barriers to care. The Government should make appropriate Laws and policies that will make universal Health coverage achievable for Nigeria.
There should be waiver for medical equipment importation until we can produce in Nigeria. Tax holiday should be given to new hospitals in specific areas of the country to encourage investment into quality healthcare. Regulators should allow large retail distribution channel like Telcos and retail focused banks to sell health insurance products on their platform, which will make it easy for most Nigerians. All these have direct impact into the cost and access to Health insurance and invariably quality healthcare.
There seems to be a rising case of depression, heart and stress related diseases in Nigeria. As an organisation that prides itself in empowering people to live a better life, what is AXA Mansard Health’s contribution to addressing these healthcare issues in the country?
I quite agree that there is a rise in the case of these particular, non-communicable, otherwise preventable disease. Mostly related to lifestyle, diet, habits and other genetic and environmental factors that have changed over the past few years. AXA Mansard Health has a Preventive and Wellbeing Unit, the unit targets lifestyle, workplace and family. We believe these factors contribute a lot to our health. Our strategy is to change our clients’ behaviours to those that improve their health and their environment / workplace to one that promotes health.
We do regular screenings onsite at clients’ workplace to identify potential as well as existing medical conditions, Health talks are delivered routinely to clients at their place of work while Newsletters and SMS Health tips are sent bimonthly. We have also moved a step further to by incentivizing them to exercise and eat healthy through partnerships with gyms and healthy restaurants.
What are the biggest challenges in the Healthcare System?
Finance gap for the providers to replace their ageing/obsolete medical infrastructure, paucity of medical data to help make informed decision, constant emigration of medical skills leading to less availability of services in certain part of the country, poorly motivated medical workforce leading to poor service particularly in public hospitals, poor regulation of medical facility and hardly is any negligence punished; finally, policy disconnection and inconsistency.
When people think of health insurance, they imagine that they have to be employees of a multinational, for example. Tell us about the different packages AXA Mansard Health offers, if there is any for self-employed persons and families?
AXA Mansard Health has simple and affordable products for both Group and Individual plans.
Group plans cater to large corporate clients and SMEs, while the individual plans are designed for individuals and families.
Why is it important for entrepreneurs, especially those within the Small and Medium Enterprise to get health insurance cover for their employees from a reliable Health Management Organization?
For Entrepreneurs and SMEs, health insurance will enable them control their health expenditure, the budget for Healthcare is fixed for the year, so they can better manage their resources.
Also the staff are better protected when their Health is managed by a reputable HMO, less absenteeism, improved morale, increased productivity, fewer injuries, lower disability costs, Improve company image and culture.
AXA Mansard Health has solutions designed specifically for SMEs.