Last week, we achieved a significant milestone in NBA’s agenda to improve on the health and wellness programme for our members. You would recall that a few months ago, we informed you that the NBA was in negotiations with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to provide affordable medicare for Nigerian lawyers. I am pleased to inform you that those negotiations have now been concluded and culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the NBA and NHIS on Thursday last week. My team and I are grateful to all the members of the NBA Welfare Committee for their immense support throughout this process.
With this arrangement in place, I believe that it is an opportune moment to clearly outline to you the various plans that we have put in place, under our “Project Wellbeing”, to ensure that our members have access to good and affordable healthcare.
The first is the NBA-NHIS Health Insurance Scheme. At the time that the NHIS announcement was initially made, we also informed you that to kickstart the NBA-NHIS Scheme, the NBA will, as a part of the pilot phase, be paying the health insurance premium for 1,000 lawyers selected from all the 125 branches of the NBA using some set guidelines. 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, our members will be entitled to extensive healthcare cover. 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 hugely discounted annual 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 a majority of our lawyers are not similarly placed, hence the need for this scheme which has now gone live.
The second is the critical ailment insurance that we launched at the beginning of this year as part of our arrangements with Leadway Assurance. This is related to, but different from, the N2 million life insurance cover that we also have for our members 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.
The third is the accidental medical expenses cover that we also have with Leadway. Here, members are entitled to a reimbursement of their properly documented medical expenses in the case of an accident up to the sum N60,000.00 in qualifying cases.
The fourth is that Leadway has agreed to provide, at no extra cost to our eligible members, telemedicine access with licensed medical doctors under the Leadway telemedicine platform. This will enable our members to have initial virtual consultations with doctors without going into the hospital in the first instance.
Lastly, the NBA has set up a N100 million Medical Fund from which funds will be applied, from time to time, to support the medical needs of our members who cannot benefit from the NBA-NHIS scheme, or whose ailments do not qualify as “critical ailment” under our policy with Leadway Assurance. This will be disbursed to deserving or qualified members using parameters to be published by the managers of the Fund. The Fund 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.
There may be overlaps in some of these arrangements, but the idea is to provide our members with various options to accessing decent healthcare at no additional cost to them in most cases.
We know that you have enormous expectations of us, and my team and I will continue to do all that we can to meet those expectations and to deliver on your mandate to us.
Nigerian Bar Association