The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has set up a N100 million Medical Fund for it members who cannot benefit from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) or whose ailments do not qualify as “critical ailment” under its policy with Leadway Assurance.
According to NBA President, Olumide Akpata, the medical fund would be disbursed to deserving or qualified members using parameters to be published by the managers of the fund.
The fund, he said, has a seed capital of N10 million from the NBA, while the balance will be raised by the NBA Welfare Committee through donations from well-meaning members of the Association.
NBA in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoI) with NHIS, collaborated to provide affordable medicare for Nigerian lawyers in line with the campaign promises of its President.
The body said it would, as part of the pilot phase, pay health insurance premium for 1,000 lawyers selected from all the 125 branches of the NBA using some set guidelines.
He noted that the selection process, which was primarily led by the chairmen of the various branches of NBA, has since been completed and the lawyers who were selected as part of the pilot scheme are now entitled to enjoy, at no cost to them, the benefits of the scheme at NHIS designated hospitals across the country.
Under this scheme, Akpata said members would be entitled to extensive healthcare cover. He stressed that other lawyers who were not selected as part of the pilot scheme and who wish to benefit from NBA-NHIS scheme, may do so by paying a discounted yearly subscription fee of N15, 000 to the NHIS.
“The NBA Publicity Secretary will soon circulate the detailed benefits available under the scheme and the procedure for subscribing. While I appreciate that some of our members may already have their personal or employer-sponsored health cover, I know, firsthand, that majority of our lawyers are not similarly placed, hence, the need for this scheme, which has now gone live,” he said.
He explained that the N2 million life insurance cover, which NBA had with Leadway Assurance, is different from the “critical ailment” insurance that was launched at the beginning of this year as part of the NBA arrangement with Leadway Assurance.
“Under this arrangement, our members who are diagnosed with “critical illness” (as defined under the insurance policy) will, subject to meeting agreed conditions, be entitled, at no extra cost to them, to receive N1 million towards the treatment of such critical illness,” he said.
Akpata added that members are entitled to be reimbursed of their properly documented medical expenses in the case of an accident up to the sum N60, 000 in qualifying cases.
He stated that Leadway has agreed to provide, at no extra cost to eligible members, telemedicine access with licensed medical doctors under the Leadway telemedicine platform.
According to him, the telemedicine access will enable members have initial virtual consultations with doctors without going into the hospital in the first instance.