Before you get that cheap health insurance in Nigeria, here are questions to ask to avoid taking a step you’ll regret.
Questions to Ask Before Buying Cheap Health Insurance in Nigeria – A Background
The benefit of health insurance in Nigeria is enormous. It is one of the ways Nigerians can access health care services for little or no cost. However, the health insurance scheme can be challenging to navigate. For this reason, one of the easiest ways to access coverage is through an employer.
Whether you want to get health insurance by yourself, through the federal government, or an employer, there are many things you should know before buying cheap health insurance in Nigeria. But, first, you must know how to choose a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and compare different health insurance plans.
If you are planning to switch or register with any HMO plan, asking these questions will help you navigate quickly, avoid costly mistakes and make the most of your health insurance in Nigeria. But first, you may want to know who an HMO is and what they do.
A Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) is a company that networks with various healthcare providers and then offers health care insurance plans that permit a person to enjoy medical services when they subscribe to their insurance packages.
Many HMOs provide health insurance in Nigeria. Therefore, you must understand the different options they provide to make the best choice.
Questions to Ask Before Buying Cheap Health Insurance in Nigeria
Do they have a digital platform?
Digital platforms like mobile apps are a significant game changer for many HMOs in Nigeria. Aside from easing the stress of accessing health insurance in Nigeria, it also makes it a breeze to check your health insurance balance, communicate with your policy provider, and complain when necessary.
Many of these companies have developed a good rapport and support systems by providing various digital channels that make it easy for customers to perform basic operations with the swipe of their fingers.
Is the company easily accessible?
It would help if you had an HMO that is easily accessible. The company you choose should be easy to reach both physically and online. Unfortunately, many health insurance coverage are not explicit enough for customers. And to make matters worse, there may not be any walk-in office nearby for customers within a specific region to go and get the support they need. So, many rely on online help to find answers to their questions.
Does the plan have the kind of hospitals and health facilities you need?
While you are interested in what is covered in your plan, you should also be concerned about the kind of hospitals or health care providers it offers. Is the hospital network vast enough, and do they have the facilities you want?
Many HMOs have different health insurance plans. Some classify these plans into three groups (gold, platinum, and silver). The extent of coverage for these plans isn’t the same. The method you choose may also influence your options while choosing a health care provider.
How do I get health insurance?
This is usually the first question many ask. Usually, you may have some doubts about health insurance in Nigeria. But the moment you are less skeptical, you may not know how to proceed with buying a health insurance policy and making the most of it to access quality healthcare in Nigeria.
Most employers offer health insurance to their employees. If you work for any of these employers, you may be able to choose health insurance plans that suit your needs.
Even if you are not employed in any organization, that’s not the end of the road for buying health insurance. For example, you can purchase health insurance as a self-employed if you do not qualify for a government health insurance scheme.
Many insurance companies have agents that help them sell insurance packages to private individuals. They could help you access the best health insurance for your healthcare needs. If you are young, you may unlikely need medical care like the elderly. Therefore, you may consider buying insurance plans with low monthly premiums and high deductibles or copayments.
Does the plan cover what is important to you?
Before you buy any cheap health insurance in Nigeria, you must determine what you want from the policy. This will enable you to manage your expectations and prevent possibly discontinuing premium payments due to lack of satisfaction.
Having a health insurance plan is not the issue. What’s more important is to ensure the plan covers your health needs. For example, if you have kids, you may want them to benefit from the policy. But unless specified, most health insurance in Nigeria does not cover pediatric healthcare.
Do I have to contribute money for my medical expense?
You mustn’t fail to ask this crucial question before buying cheap health insurance in Nigeria. Some policies may require you to pay a specific percentage of the medical bill while the company takes care of the balance.
This is usually called “copay.” If you have no intention of sharing your medical expense, you should clearly state it, and they may offer you other options if they have any.
Does the policy cover routine examinations?
Routine medical checks are necessary, especially for the elderly. But it could cost a lot if there are many tests involved. However, with health insurance, you will save a lot on medical checks for you and your family.
It’s necessary to discuss with your insurance policy provider to know if the coverage includes routine checks. Most HMOs offer this package for insurance beneficiaries above a certain age.
Does my plan cover pre-existing conditions?
If you have a medical condition, before you buy a health insurance package, you must find out if the coverage accommodates your existing medical condition. In reality, most packages exclude any pre-existing condition.
Are there any out-of-pocket expenses?
Most health insurance in Nigeria includes out-of-pocket costs you may not notice when buying the policy. That is why it’s necessary to ask questions about “little expenses” you may be required to pay that are excluded from your plan.
Before you buy any health insurance package, it would help if you could select all costs associated with the plan you are interested in and check if you can afford the expense anytime.
Does the plan take care of medical expenses outside the country or region?
Most times, your preferred insurance package is only active in a particular region of the country or the entire country, irrespective of the state you traveled to. So, for example, your insurance plan can only provide coverage within Nigeria or Lagos (if that is where you reside).
This means that if you have a medical emergency outside these places, you may not enjoy coverage from the company.
Most health insurance companies offer coverage that exceeds the country’s borders. But it usually comes with higher premiums and charges.
How long do I have to wait for payment from my insurance provider?
This question is necessary because claim time varies from one provider to the other. A health insurance plan mustn’t mandate you to wait several days to get your claim from the provider. This may result in delayed medical payments and other inconveniences.
If the waiting period is fair enough, you may have to discuss it with your health care provider to ensure they work within the time frame specified in the policy agreement.
Does it cover maternity expenses?
Most people generalize all policy providers in terms of what they include and exclude from the policy. For example, Nigeria’s maternity expense is very costly, especially with private health care providers.
Therefore, to avoid paying the high cost of delivery and maternity, it’s best to ensure your plan includes such expenses. But the policyholder cannot access these kinds of benefits in health insurance immediately. Most insurance policies have a waiting period of 2-4 years.
This means that if you buy the health insurance this year that includes maternity expenses, you may wait a few years before you are eligible for the benefits.
Final Thought Questions to Ask Before Buying Cheap Health Insurance in Nigeria
Now that you know the essential questions to ask before you buy cheap health insurance in Nigeria, why wait?
Take necessary actions to evaluate your options and choose the best health insurance plan that does not just meet your health needs but also helps you maximize the benefits from your health insurance plan in Nigeria.