Burdened by the huge amount Nigeria loses to medical tourism yearly, Collinson Group, a global loyalty and benefits company has partnered with Royal Exchange Healthcare to provide affordable and accessible international health insurance product to the Nigerian market.
Known as Smart Health International Plan, which was unveiled in Lagos recently with the support of the Lagos state government, the insurance product, according to both partners, will provide Nigerians the opportunity to seek quality and adequate healthcare services abroad.
Speaking at the event, the Royal Exchange Healthcare Limited, Dr. Emenike Onwutalu, said the move to bring the product to Nigeria was driven by the estimated financial burden spent on out-of-pocket by Nigerians on medical tourism, which is at N400 billion yearly.He said, though, there are many critical health conditions that cannot be managed locally, there was need to address funding of healthcare outside the country to ensure Nigerians get optimal and affordable care, which he added was what initiated the product launch.
“Today, our health system is facing a lot of problem in the area of finance by the private individuals. This out-of-pocket spending has created huge financial burden on patients and their families and there is an attendant capital flight, which is of immense proportion. Another challenge is that for those who embark on medical tourism, a good number of them do not reality identify centres to get help and even when they do, the cost is so enormous that along the line they are abandoned due to their inability to afford this cost of treatment,” he stressed.
He added: “We believe that this offering we are bringing will impact positively in the lives of our people in terms of getting the right hospitals, affordability, psychology and all the areas that satisfies health. And at the same time reduce the capital flight we are experiencing at the moment.”
Speaking on the health insurance packages, the Head of International Healthcare Development, Collinson Group, Michelle Emore said the plan provides solutions that covers services in which 60 per cent of Nigerians travel abroad to seek, as they include, treatment of cancer, diabetes, renal and cardiac surgeries, as well as complex bone orthopedic surgery.
Also speaking on the packages of the international insurance plan, the Global Medical Director, Collinson, Dr. Simon Worrell added that part of the services offered include, ensuring the patients welfare during treatment, locate appropriate hospital that provides quality treatment and interventions for positive outcome.
“The patients’ choice is paramount and we will arrange the forms for travels to the hospital and the medical teams will guide the whole process and follow gently the progress through to the intervention, while we work with the best hospitals all over the foreign countries to ensure that the best and most appropriate interventions occur and when the patient is well, we will arrange for the repatriation back to Nigeria,” he said.
Commending the initiative, the General Manager, Lagos State Health Management agency, Dr. Peju Adenusi, said the product would compliment the state’s health insurance scheme, which would enable Lagosians access quality and affordable healthcare, as she called for public, private partnership to drive the health of the nation forward and achieve the universal health coverage.
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